Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Put your creativity caps on friends!

Sooo, I am starting a new blog. I deleted my old couponing blog since there isn't much couponing to be done here in Texas - and I am moving on to conquer something that is new and important to me, fashion with an ostomy. More precisely - work fashion with an ostomy. It will be a combination of what I wear to work with pictures and different appropriate fashions that I find online that I think will work with an ostomy.

What should I call it? Catchy, funny, inspiring - give it to me!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Know any good colon jokes?

I could kinda use a few right now. I don't wanna be a Debbie Downer but this seems like the best place to let everyone know what is going on, and well ... it IS part of the allbluezoo adventures. It's just not a fun adventure.

As you may or may not know (depending on how long you have been blessed with me in your life *wink*) I have crohn's disease. I was diagnosed in August of 2003 after a looooong horrific ordeal that I'd liken to childbirth only drug out over the course of 2 months. Since then I've been healthy, not healthy, really freakin' sick, damn near died, healthy again and most recently kinda in limbo of "remission" as we call it for a while and then a "flare" right around the corner. I've tried all the medications, diets, meditation, yoga - seriously I've done it all. I'm down to my last straw and after 8 years of battling my body, mind and soul are ready to have a life that doesn't revolve around where the nearest bathroom is and whether or not I can eat at an event or restaurant.

With that said, after all the medications I have taken the next step is surgery. What kind of surgery is the variable in it all right now. I currently have a colonoscopy scheduled for December 19 and my surgical team will be in attendance to evaluate the extent of the disease. I may only have to have a portion of my colon removed. I may end up having EVERYTHING taken out and be fitted with an ostomy and lots of other options in between. What I DO know is that even if I only have a portion of the colon removed now, eventually I will have to have everything removed - because you cannot cure crohn's disease. You can remove the diseased portion but it will manifest itself elsewhere and wreak havoc. Of course I'd like to prolong that part but if it is the opinion of the surgeons that I'm better off just going whole hog right from the beginning, then that is what we will do. The double whammy is that when you have had crohn's as long as I have the risk of colon and rectal cancer jumps exponentially. Of course I don't want to have to deal with that on top of it all and I pray that as of right now I am still cancer free. The last time I had a biopsy was October 2009 so I am a few months late having my follow up.

I have to say I am anxious about everything that lies ahead, but I have an eerie sense of peace knowing that there may be some normalcy in my life - in the life of my friend and most importantly in the life of my family. I want to be around for a long time to watch my babies grow into compassionate, caring, thoughtful, successful, handsome men - husbands - fathers. And I don't wanna do that from a hospital bed anymore. It isn't fair to them, to my husband, to my extended family to have to deal with all the crap that goes along with this disease.

So, there you have it! I do have a preliminary appointment with an ostomy nurse on Friday just to get an idea of what I may have in store, ask questions and hopefully be re-assured. Thank you all so much for your concern and care over these last 8 years - it hasn't been an easy road to be my friend and I am SO SO SO thankful and grateful for those of you who have stuck it out with me. I only hope that I am as good a friend to you as you are to me. Continue on with those prayers and positive thoughts, we'll sure be needing them in the weeks and months to come. Calming thoughts for my body and mind, prayers for the doctors that will watch over me, uplifting thoughts for my family as they try to balance their lives with the upheaval this will cause and many blessings upon Raymond that he will continue to be successful in his master's program even when dealing with me and all my baggage.

I'm not usually the person that asks for things - I don't often ask people to watch my kids unless it is a dire emergency. I'm a "I can do it" kind of girl. But I know with what is to come I am going to need to depend on my friends and family more than ever and I hope you want to continue along with me and be a part of my life forever, because I want that more than anything.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's hang out with daddy day!

I was poking around other blogs and noticing that my friends havne't been blogging much and thought, "when was the last time I blogged?" Ahem, yeah - no throwing stones from a glass house and all that stuff.

It has just been a lot of the same here - getting the kids off to school, cleaning, crafting, cleaning, helping kids with homework, making dinner, cleaning, football practice, helping husband study, bed and repeat. Until this weekend! Our first 4 day weekend in the PA program and it was great - we got an ENTIRE 24hours of "hang out with daddy" as the boys like to call it. We ventured all over San Antonio and NO ONE talked about school AT ALL! Glorious.

Exciting, huh.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is it too much to ask?

Apparently it is! Y'all know we are a military family. With that comes some unique and sometimes frustrating problems whenever it comes time to move. This is just our latest encounter and it really has me IRRITATED!

We hold season passes to Six Flags, home park Great America. We were moved - on military orders - to San Antonio, new home park Fiesta Texas. Below is an email exchange I have had with Six Flags - Fiesta Texas.

My initial comment on their "Contact Us" tab of webpage June 25:

My family has been season pass holders to include a parking pass for the past 2 seasons at Six Flags Great America. My husband serves on active duty in the United States Navy and has been stationed at Great Lakes Naval Station and we will be relocating to San Antonio due to military orders. We were very excited to learn that our season passes from Great America would be accepted at Six Flags Fiesta. However, I was disappointed when we received our coupon books and a majority of the coupons are good only at Great America. In addition I discovered that we will be required to purchase another parking pass at Six Flags Fiesta even though we already have a parking pass for Great America which I paid significantly more for ($70 vs. $40). It is upsetting that we are essentially being penalized for being a military family forced to spend hundreds of dollars more to be able to use passes that we've already paid for because of a military required move. I look forward to hearing from you soon to remedy this situation, we have always had a wonderful time at Six Flags along with several of our military family friends and I know you will make this situation right.

Response dated July 3

Hi Melissa,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding your season pass parking and coupon books. We are delighted that you will be moving to San Antonio and visiting our Park and would be happy to exchange your coupon book for a Fiesta Texas coupon book.

In your letter, you also inquired about our Season Pass Parking Pass. The parking pass is only valid at the Park it was purchased. This year we are pleased to offer the GO PARK sticker for our guests that have season passes from another park at a cost of $50 plus tax. This sticker will enable you to park at any of the Six Flags Parks. We hope that this option will work for your family.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write. We appreciate your patronage and look forward to your visits to our park.

**note, I searched for info on this "GO PARK" and can find NOTHING.

My follow up response, dated July 4:

Thank you for your response to my inquiry regarding the coupon books and parking passes for Six Flags Fiesta Texas. I am delighted that we will be able to exchange our current coupon books for books at our new "home" park. However, I am very disappointed with regards to the season parking pass. My husband is under military orders to move to San Antonio. We have already purchased a parking pass for $70 to use at Six Flags - Great America, is there no ability to "transfer" the pass to your location? We have already paid more for season passes at Great America ($79.99 each) vice season passes at Fiesta Texas ($69.99) AND our parking pass from Great America was $70 vice the $50 you charge for a parking pas at Fiesta Texas.

Could you explain the GO PARK option further? The way I am understanding it is that I would end up paying $120 for parking passes to 2 parks even though I will NEVER be going to Six Flags - Great America again this season. I certainly hope this is not the solution you are suggesting for my family or any other military family being moved by military order.

Six Flags - Great America has been a wonderful getaway for our family during our time at Great Lakes. It is a very family friendly and military friendly location with wonderful events for children and adults. I assumed that this was a company wide theme, but I may have been mistaken. I find it disgraceful that you would ask us to pay for an additional parking pass because we are being ordered to move by the military. I can certainly understand paying for additional parking if we were taking a "Tour of Six Flags across the Country" but this is not the case. Six Flags - Fiesta Texas has to have a HUGE military visitor base considering all of the military installations that are nearby. Surely this cannot be the first time a concern such as mine has arisen, and if it is I hope you find cause to escalate the concern further up your corporate chain to make a change in policy regarding the parking situation at your location.

We have many military friends who also hold season passes to Six Flags - Great America who will also be re-locating at some point in the near future. I hope that IF they are moved to an area near another Six Flags they do not have to be subjected to this blatant gouging of the pockets.

I would be happy to speak with your supervisor regarding the matter should you think it is warranted. I look forward to hearing from you soon to get final resolution before our arrival in San Antonio next week. Should you find a phone call more appropriate, please feel free to contact me at xxxxxxx.

It is now July 13, well over a week after my last email interaction. No one has to agree with me, I just thought you all should know that Six Flags apparently has NO POLICY in place for their military season pass holders when it comes to PCS time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

No tissues necessary, pinkies!

I just haven't blogged for awhile so I figured - what the heck?! I'm just waiting for some DELICIOUSNESS to be done in the oven. Caribbean Beach Bread if you must know. I'm having a little Tastefully Simple party tonight - well, actually a friend from high school is hosting it and I'm "consulting" on it. I'm a consultant. Makes me sound knowledgeable in the technical sense. Not so much. I can tell ya LOTS about Tastefully Simple though.

Anyway, on to other things. The youngest parts of the allbluezoo have been with me in Indiana for the past few days and we'll be joined by DevilDoc tomorrow - insert a HALLELUJAH here! - afternoon. He's bringing Nani girl too; *heart thumping* Not sure who I miss more - him or her. Don't tell him that *wink* Seriously though, the kids haven't really been THAT bad it's just that the weather has been LESS THAN cooperative to being outside! Have you ever taken a beast from it's habitat and caged it somewhere mostly unfamiliar and without it's normal comforts? That's what it is like with the ZOO - we are are gammaw's house (my mom) and bopping around to P-Paw & Julie's (my dad/his wife), Matt & Sassy's (my brother/his wife) and other assorted extended family members. Note none of the above people have anyone under the age of 10 living with them full-time, severely limiting the toys and other junk that occupy said children under the age of 10. Thank goodness for the couple of days of good weather that allowed us to hit the pool. Even today, overcast and all we tried for the park. Made it about 10 minutes before it started raining. Ugh. Back inside. Ugh.

My "stuff" is already in San Antonio. Too bad we won't be for another somewhat long while. But, we have things to tend to like Centennial Celebrations at the Navy's only bootcamp and a 4th of July bash that promises to go down in the record books. And then that small concert. U2. YES I AM GOING TO THE U2 CONCERT - F.i.n.a.l.l.y! I swear it feels like we've had tickets for years. Well, that is of course, if we actually had tickets. I accidentally kind of forgot to get them out of the safe before we packed it up and sent it to San Antonio. Woopsie. Yay for Ticketmaster and their infinite wisdom that there will be dummies like me who WILL lose, misplace, send away their show tickets. They are holding another set a will call for us. I figured that was best, God forbid they mail me another set and I leave them in Indiana when we head back to Chicago-land. Duh.

Now you are all caught up on what has been going on around here for the last .... 5 days? Close enough. Whatever. This weekend we have a family reunion. Mmmhmmm, I said it. Family reunion. It's pretty cool actually. It's my maternal grandfather's side of the family and HOLY HELL there are a LOT of us! I'm pretty stoked for the annual BINGO game - those little kids better watch out - I'm hungry for the prizes. Word has it that granny scored BIG on Walgreen's Register Rewards stuff this year and I have my eye on more toothpaste.

JUST KIDDING, sheesh - I have like 1,000 tubes of toothpaste b/c I coupon. Duh.

I really DON'T have 1,000 tubes of toothpaste. But I would be all over some more lip balm or sunsreen. Hope she got in on that deal.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

And so it goes...

"Home is where the Navy sends us". It is our mantra as a military wife - you can insert any branch of the military for "Navy" and it still works. If you are REALLY lucky sometimes it is "Home is where we really want to go and the Navy happens to have an opening for us". I feel fortunate that we've been able to use THAT line for DevilDoc's entire career. Yes, yes - you read that right. We CHOSE to come to Great Lakes. Obviously we hadn't been here before! But, I am an Indiana girl and since we couldn't get in at Crane, IN we took the next best thing to be close to my family. We had just spent 3 years across the Pacific ya know.

When we married he already had orders to NAS Pensacola. After that we CHOSE to go to IDC school in San Diego. From there we CHOSE to go to Hawaii to join the in-laws who were also stationed there. Then this choice. You hear many people call this place "Great Mistakes" but I just can't seem to force those words from my mouth. To do so, to me, would mean that our time here was a bad choice - a mistake. It wasn't.

It was NO mistake that DevilDoc was selected as a CPO when we got here. It was no mistake that I took that train ride into the city with a group of women I had.never.met - those are the same women that became my confidants over the past 2 years. It was no mistake to then go to a complete stranger's house for a potluck lunch/playdate with more women I had.never.met. It was there I met my parallel twin. It was no mistake that I finally began my Tastefully Simple business. It was BECAUSE of my business that I met (or re-met?) my Hawaii connection. How can I call those things mistakes? It is NO mistake that DevilDoc went on to more college while we lived here. Completing all the necessary pre-requisites to apply for the PA program that will lead to a commission. It is no mistake that I found a WONDERFUL school for my children to attend and a job for myself to boot. How lucky am I to be able to come away from that experience with ANOTHER friend I know I will have for life? It is no mistake.

It is no mistake that I volunteered for a role helping families in our military command. That is what I DO - I simply adore HELPING. It certainly was no mistake that I was a part of a team for that endeavor, it is no "one woman show". It was no mistake that I was asked to co-chair an assembly of volunteers. It was the perfect fit for me. It wasn't what I set out to do, what I WANTED to do would have been a mistake.

To call it "Great Mistakes" would be to trivialize what my life - our life - has been here. No mistakes. Only learning opportunities. The chance to better oneself in the face of adversity.

I will miss you Great Lakes. I will miss your morning colors and the call for Taps. I will miss the cadence of recruits being molded into sailors. I will miss the Navy way. We are off to a place where they say things like "I'm going on post" or "I need to stop at the BX". *shiver* I'm still gonna call it "base" and "the exchange" just like I still refer to the "Hoosier Dome" and "Deer Creek".

But mostly I will miss the people who remain at Great Lakes when we leave. I have been reminded over and over the past few weeks what a truly amazing group of people I have surrounding me. And it isn't just friends and personal relationships. I have developed unforgettable professional relationships here as well. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet individuals from all walks of the Navy. From commanding officers to students at NHCS, spouses with 30 years of experience in the Navy to those who have JUST married a sailor. It's EVERYONE who makes this place tick - makes it so unique. It truly is like no other place in the Navy. These people, my friends I call them all, these are the people I will miss. I have had more "going away", "last hoorah" and "farewell" events than my mind can get ahold of. It feels good to know I will be missed - but what feels even better is to know that I have in some way - touched each and every one of the people at those events.

And so it goes...thank you for calling me friend. Thank you for taking me as I am - it is no easy pill to swallow, that I know for sure. Thank you for listening, for crying, for celebrating, for tolerating - for being there. Thank you for being a part of my life - OUR life.

Without you, it very well could have been "Great Mistakes".

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Don't wear out your welcome

The name of my blog sums it up pretty well - allbluezoo adventures. It is ALWAYS and adventure around here. We are about to embark on our next adventure courtesy of the US Navy. Awhile back I shared that DevilDoc had been selected for a commissioning program; he'll attend graduate school, do a year of clinicals, get his Master's as a physician's assistant and the Navy will pay for it.

This means that we are moving.....again. We've been here just shy of 2 years - not the norm in the rotation, but we don't seem to do anything normal. Anyway, we are packing it up and moving it south to San Antonio. Yesterday we signed our lives away at the closing on our first home! I was excited, happy, nauseous and panicked all at the same time. Somewhere to live - checked off the list. Now - to get ourselves OUT of this house.

That involves a garage sale, or 2 or 3 as the case may be. It means going through every item you own, every box you have tucked away and reducing. I have a garage full of stuff for sale and I haven't even looked in our storage shed outside. Good grief.

And lastly, the part I am really not good at. Saying goodbye to our friends. It's bittersweet really, because it is a small Navy after all and the hope is that we'll meet again at another duty station .... as long as it is not back here! I'm sure I'll be on my typical emotional roller coaster, I'll be distant and standoffish. I'll try to make people be mad at me - because if they are mad at me I won't miss them so much. What kind of screwed up psyche is that?! I will try my hardest to NOT do that, but sometimes it happens and I don't even realize it. Damn defense mechanisms.

SO, in code I will thank the people who have made this place tolerable for the past year and 9 months - I am so lucky to call you friend.

My parallel twin - Where will I go for coffee? Who will talk about their guts with me? Listen to me whine? Understand the pain? And it's not just you that I will miss, it is your entire family. Lindsey will have to bring over pumpkin cake and beer bread in my place. I'm glad Dr. Hottie glasses is leaving too or else I would be jealous. Great, I'm crying.

My island connection - Oh how I wish we could have started our friendship in Hawaii. But then it would be even harder to leave now I am sure. Thank you for sharing your family with me, with us actually. A "no need to knock" kind of friend, if you know what I mean. We've been through the ringer on some things in this short amount of time, and still here to tell about it. You are a wonderful friend and mother - such a special combination.

Thrifter extraordinaire (did I spell that right?) - you are the kind of person I try really hard to be, and I feel like I fail miserably. Dependable, not judging, open, caring, warm, encouraging - I could go on and on with the adjectives. The most important thing to me is that you love my kids (and my dog) as if you have known them their whole lives. I know that you will be blessed....

MamaG and KP - you round out my core. You each bring something special to our friendship. Always keeping me on my toes, forcing me to expand my mind just.a.little.bit.more to see something from another view. Your fun-loving and easy going natures take me over when I am in your company, I hope enough of it sticks that I can carry it wherever I go. You let me be a part of your families - allowing me in at the most private of times, when you were carrying new life. Such a gift, thank you.

There are so many more people who touched me during our time here - but these 5 women, to me they are my core. I know I could call ANY of them (I have!) and they would be there for me no questions asked - because that is just what WE do. WE being a military spouse I guess - it is a special bond, as sisterhood almost. One with unwritten criteria and outrageous dues - but lifelong rewards.