Monday, April 16, 2012

A Hokie Day of Remembrance

Usually I'm rushing out the door with my hands full of what feels like 10 different bags, a coffee mug, keys, and a bunch of other odds and ends. Typically I have 17 different things on my mind and a to-do list is already running through my head. Today is different. I'm sitting here on my balcony overlooking the city as I enjoy my morning coffee. I have chosen to slow down and enjoy my morning today as I spend a little time reflecting on the last 5 years.

Five years ago today, 32 of my fellow Hokies lost their lives at the place I cherish most. Thirty two beautiful, innocent, young, vibrant, and promising young students and professors were brutally gunned down while they were simply in class engaging in learning. Those 32 students and faculty got up five years ago this morning and they were rushing out the door to class with a hundred things to do and a million different things on their minds. Thinking about finals, graduation, job interviews, grading papers, finishing projects, and the list goes on...they never could have imagined that their lives would tragically end before any of that mattered.

On April 16, 2007 I was living in Harrisonburg, VA and I was completing my final semester in graduate school at James Madison University. I remember sitting at my desk at work when people started talking about a gunman on Virginia Tech's campus and how many lives were thought to have been lost. I picked up the phone to call several of my fellow Hokie alums to hear what was going on. I remember driving back to my apartment with fear for those who I both knew and didn't know back in Blacksburg and dread for the place I once called home. I turned on the TV and with shock I watched the scene unfold before me. National news and law enforcement crawling all over my pristine campus. The buildings I spent four years in were all over the TV with crime scene tape. Poor, innocent, and wounded students were being pulled from classrooms and stories of fear, desperation and heroism were being recounted for the National audience. I remember the tears rolling down my face as I couldn't believe that such evil and horror could overtake the place that I hold so dear to my heart. I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that so many people lost their lives in a place that is supposed to be safe and nurturing and hold so much promise for the future. I just stood there and cried. And cried. And cried. I remember driving from Harrisonburg to Charlotte for a job interview and as I passed by Blacksburg the tears were clouding my vision. I stopped on campus on April 18th and I sat on the top of War Memorial and gazed out onto the Drillfield. Amid all of the chaos, saddness, and tears,I felt at home and at peace. Virginia Tech can never lose it's magic and now we have 32 angels to look over our incredible Hokie Nation and the place we all hold so dear.

I feared that the world would now only think of tragedy when they thought of Virginia Tech but fortunately, my fears have not come true. For me, April 16th is a reminder to slow down and reflect. It's a time to think about the life I've been fortunate enough to live and appreciate all that I have. It's not a day to be rushed through but a day to be thankful and proud. It's a day to think of and pray for all of the families that lost their children, friends, and parents and hope that they have seen the light through all of the darkness.

To all of my Hokies out there, I love you all today and always and I'm proud to call you my family.

Never forget...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's a dog-eat-dog world

These last few weeks of city living have been fun. Different, yes, but still really fun. The first question people ask when they find out we moved into a city condo is about the dogs. I mean, we do live on the 6th floor so that requires two trips on an elevator and a jaunt at least around the block everytime one of them has to pee. Thankfully, our dogs are fantastic and we've got them on a schedule so they're not having to go out every 10 minutes. I've been rather enjoying my longer walks through the city with the boys and now that Jackson has adjusted to the lesser amount of grass and the higher level of noise, I have been able to relax a bit and not be so stressed out. On another note, it didn't take a whole lot of effort to get used to being able to just step outside and walk anywhere we want. Nothing in the house to cook? No problem! There are at least 20 great restaurants within a 5 minute walk of here. Want to grab a drink? Easy peasy...we've got margaritas, craft beers, and southern specialties all within three blocks. Headed out to the movies? The IMAX theater is 5 blocks away. Museums, bars, restaurants, parks, farmers's all right here. In fact, we barely even take our cars out on the weekend. If it weren't for the weekly Harris Teeter trip, we'd be burning absolutely no gas from when I pull in from work on Friday evening to when I leave on Monday morning.

The bigger adjustment has been the fact that city people don't like dogs. Seriously. Not at all. I mean, I might be biased but I think that Jackson and Vince are pretty stinkin cute but it seems that the people we pass on almost every walk don't agree. It's not even that they just walk by and ignore Vince's ewok ears and butt wiggle but they actually scowl and physically move further away from them. When I see a dog walking by I about crawl out of my skin to get my hands on it so I guess I just don't understand. Now, I realize that not everyone is like me but how could anyone scowl at these two?

So I may be making it my personal mission to use Vince and Jackson as the catalyst to change the minds of all of the dog-hating city people in Raleigh. I'll let you know how that goes!

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reunitied and it feels so good......I hope.

As my dear friend over at The Adventures of a Holmesinelli proclaimed recently, me and blogging have not been the best of friends lately. In fact, we took a break. We're testing the waters again so here I am, tentatively re-opening the door of our relationship.

What's happened since you last heard from me? Well, my husband was laid off AND started a new job, we've rented and moved into a new condo in downtown Raleigh, I've started running again, and I've just been working working working as usual.

In addition to the above fun and exciting things that have been going on, I've been dealing with a few health issues that I have done a good job of not addressing...until today. Today I'm heading to the doctor with the anticipation of a long run of antibiotics being perscribed. Why? Because I'm 95% sure I'm in the midst of a Lyme Disease flare-up that I've managed to ignore for awhile now. It was easy to ignore the crazy knee pain that I've had since September and the inability to sleep. The constant weight gain and difficulty with weight loss is easy to blame on the lack of exercise that resulted from the weird knee thing. The confusion and bad memory are just from stress both at work and at home and they're sure to clear up soon. The persistent lightheadedness for the last 6 weeks must be from allergies and sinus issues and finally, that strange pain on the back of my head and behind my right eye must just be something that I'm fighting. The bone-crushing exhaustion that I've been feeling for the last week, combined with several of the above symptoms, has finally put me over the edge. It's not okay to be in tears on my way home from dinner with my husband because all I want to do is crawl in a little ball and not move. So I made the leap and called the doctor and now I'm watching the clock tick down to my appointment time.

It's difficult to explain why I don't want to go to the doctor. My antibiotic protocol that was perscribed when I was first diagnosed with Lyme and then a couple of times since then, is no shorter than 3 months. If you've never been on a long string of aggressive antibiotics it's nearly impossible for you to imagine how it effects your body. This time around I am more educated on some holistic natural approaches (thanks to an amazing Integrated Medicine doctor here in Raleigh) to managing these effects so I intend on dipping into that knowledge and strategy if it comes to that. I'm crossing my fingers that there's some other much more easily treatable something going on with me and that I'll be reporting later on that all is well with my world.

So anyhow, our new fun urban lifestyle has brought with it a lack of me spending time in the kitchen and us spending more time checking out all of the local spots around us. While this is fun, it is not exactly easy on the wallet or the waistline or the healing process. As is the story of my life, I need to find a good balance that works for both me and my healthy living efforts and my husband and his pursuit of downtown adventures. When we figure it out I'll let you know!

Until next time..