The End of a Decade

First, I want to address the big changes in 2019 as it has been a whirlwind of a year once July creeped around. In July I started a new job, October we sold our house and moved back into the RV and in November I started taking care of me. I’ll expand on all of this in a minute. In the meantime, let’s look back on the last decade.

In December 2009 I moved to Nashville to start a new journey. I received my bachelors degree the day before I made the move. My children were all grown and had left home doing their own thing, my husband had passed away 22 months prior and I needed a new start. I moved hoping I could find myself and learn to live on my own terms. This would be my first time ever being on my own with no one to care for but myself. I was scared and thrilled all at the same time. People thought I was crazy to walk away from the only life I had known and start over with so many unknowns.

Bachelor Degree Graduation, 2009

The years following brought 3 new grandbabies, 2 marriages (one of which was my own), 2 new homes (one in 2013 and one in 2018), several jobs and a lot of traveling. My life was turned upside down and right side up many times over through the years that followed and subsequently ending a decade of my life in 2019.

GRANDBABIES

My first granddaughter, Madison Grace, was born in 2013. I wasn’t able to make her birth like I did the first grandchild in 2004, but it didn’t make her arrival any less eventful. Nana arrived about 3 days after she got here and was thrilled to finally have a little girl to shower my love and attention on. I handmade several outfits and have continued to make clothes and purses and other things for her throughout her first six years of life. She likes gymnastics, loves to read and is finally coming out of her shell.

Madison Grace, 2013

In 2014 and 2017 I gained two more grandchildren, a boy, Jackson Brian, and a girl, Ryan Mackenzie (brother and sister). One was born in Nashville and the other in Louisiana. I was fortunate to be there when they were born and love every minute I get to see them. Jackson is the most laid back child I have ever seen. He is very well mannered and loves animals. Ryan is a spitball and full of shit and vinegar (a saying my mother use to use back in the day). Both are loved by many and missed by their Nana more than they will ever know.

Jackson Brian, 2014

Ryan Mackenzie, 2017

MARRIAGES

In 2014 we had two weddings, mine and my daughter, Christine. The timing might not have been the best, as we were married exactly one week apart, but we made the best of it and both had the wedding we wanted. She got married in a church and I got married in a little chapel, both here in Nashville. My mom was able to attend Christine’s wedding which helped make up for those that weren’t here. It was hard to get through the day without her dad. No daughter should have to get married without their daddy walking them down the aisle.

Christine’s Wedding, 2014

My Wedding, 2014

JOBS

I started and ended the decade working at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Unfortunately, I did not work there the entire decade. Instead I had several jobs in between as we traveled the country from 2015 – 2017, which didn’t allow for a steady job. I took jobs to feel in the gaps and provide a little play money along the way. During my many jobs I have made friends with some wonderful people with whom I will always be grateful I have in my life.

MEMORIES

One of my fondest memories is from 2010 when I went to karaoke at the Maxwell Millennium Hotel. It was always a thrill to get up there and sing even when I picked the wrong song and sounded like a doofus. The memories made will last a lifetime.

Going through online studies for my masters degree made a lot of memories that I would rather forget. The late nights studying and the aggravation made me question my sanity sometimes, but in the end it was worth all the headaches when I received that degree.

Masters Degree Graduation, 2012

The one thing about memories is they are always in our memory bank and there is no way I could ever express all the memories I have made in the last 10 years. I am so grateful for all the people with whom I have met and shared this last decade with.

HOUSING

In 2012 my daughter Christine moved to Nashville and for about a year we lived with each other, but then we decided it was time to get our own places, so I decided it was time to buy a house. I was excited because I had never bought a house on my own. I closed on the house in July 2013. It was an older house that needed some renovating, but because I love a good DIY project, I was looking forward to making it a HOME. I would stay in this house until December 2014, when we sold it for the RV life instead.

My First Home, 2013

In the summer of 2018, we started looking to buy a house. I had gone to work full-time and we both thought we wanted something different for a change. We closed on our house in October and put the RV in storage. By October of the next year we were closing on the sale of the house and moving back into the RV.

Our New House, 2018

TRAVEL

Other than trips back and forth from Tennessee to Florida, there wasn’t much traveling until 2014 when FSU went to Pasadena, California to play in the National Championship against Auburn, which FSU won. I had only known Greg (now my husband) for about a month when he sprang this trip on me. Since he’s a Tennessee fan I was quite surprised when he wanted to go watch my team play. This was the first time I had ever been to California and one of the best trips I have ever had. Everything from the hotel to the stadium to the beach and boardwalk, it was just magical. I felt like a princess with her prince. It was truly a remarkable adventure and one that I will never forget.

On the beach at Santa Monica Pier

Rose Bowl Stadium

A view from the stands!

Santa Monica Pier

Our next couple of trips would be to West Virginia and Gatlinburg. We didn’t go on a honeymoon other than to the Grand Ole Opry, so in May of 2014 we decided to join his family at their fishing camp in Hinton, West Virginia. Being on the river and seeing the beautiful scenery was great. We went back in July of the same year and ventured out to see the coal mines and back country roads. After a few days in WV, we headed to Gatlinburg to a cabin we had rented. The cabin was gorgeous along with the view and the hot tub and everything in the city. It was perfect in every way.

West Virginia, 2014

Gatlinburg, 2014

In March of 2015 we would embark on our RV journey that would take us through many states over the next three years. All of that is documented on the blog and can be found by doing a search of RV Life. I believe we visited a total of 20 states throughout the 3 years that we traveled in the RV. One day we will continue our journey and see many more.

In the summer of 2015, we took our grandson, Colby to Tennessee to visit Ripley’s Aquarium and Cades Cove. He got to see his first black bear in the wild. We joined him and his parents the following week at St. George Island, Florida for a week on the beach.

Ripley’s Aquarium, 2015

Black Bear in Cades Cove, 2015

RV LIFE

In August of 2014 we decided we wanted to start RVing full-time, which would require a lot of preparation. We had a house and lots of possessions to sell as we didn’t want to put everything in storage. It took several months to get this accomplished, but once the house went up for sale, we had a cash offer in a matter of two weeks and closed in December. We traded an RV that Greg had when we got married for a Heartland Gateway and took our first weekend trip in October. That weekend ended with the RV falling on the truck. By Thanksgiving we had both repaired and we were headed to Florida to see my parents. When we came back, we decided to stay in the RV since the closing on the house was only a couple weeks away. As they say, “the rest is history.” All of our adventures and mishaps can be read on the blog by searching for RV Life.

Heartland Gateway, “Homer”

In September 2016 we traded the Gateway for a Keystone Montana 3791RD with lots more storage and a couple extra feet in length. In 2018 I started remodeling it by painting the inside and changing out some of the furniture. At the end of the decade it is still a work in progress.

Keystone Montana

WEINER DOGS, aka Dachshunds

Starting a life traveling in the RV, just the two of us, wasn’t enough. We added a couple of companions on the way. Both are chocolate dachshunds and we wouldn’t trade either of them for anything. Oscar was born in January 2015 and we brought him home in March. Harley was born in May of 2015 and we brought her home in July. They are our constant companions. They have been in more states than most people and have really become accustomed to life on the road.

Bringing Home Oscar

Harley’s First Day in Her New Home

Oscar and Harley, 2019

WHAT A DECADE

The last decade has had many fun times, some sad times and times that will remain in my heart and mind forever. I have found love and laughter. I have discovered things about myself that I never knew and never would have found out if I had not been on this journey. I started a self-care program for myself in November of 2019 and I plan to continue that journey into 2020 taking myself to new heights, new adventures and new life.

For 2020 I hope my readership will grow as I strive to stay on task with my blog. Documenting the important things in life to share, not only with my readers, but my family is important to me as I want my children and grandchildren to see what my life was like and the adventures and endeavors I undertook.

My Top 3 goals for 2020:

Complete my weight loss program.

Stay on top with blogging.

Travel to new destinations.

Some of my favorites of us!

They became fast friends!

One of My Favorites of the Furbabies!

December Weight Loss Update

Here we are at the end of another month and I am so excited with the progress that I have made. As of today, I have lost a total of 20 pounds. In addition to the weight loss I am down 5 inches in my waist and 3 inches through the chest.

When I started this program, I wasn’t sure if I would be successful at it, but I am beyond pleased with my progress so far. I ended my first six weeks round of HCG shots on the 19th. I had three days of maintaining the same types of foods before I was able to start adding more fats to my diet as well as berries. On the 23rd I started my first week of Phase 3. It was hard to stick to the plan during that week with it being Christmas and I was out of town a few days, but I was back on track on the 27th and am looking forward to the next few weeks.

For three weeks I will continue to add berries and approved fats, then I will start adding grains. The first week will only be at breakfast and then each week after will add lunch and then dinner. Once I am through Phase 3, I will repeat the process from the beginning.

I also had another round of blood test on the 23rd to make sure my hormone replacement pellets were doing what they should be doing. I can tell that my fatigue has improved as well as other symptoms I was having. On the 30th I received a booster pellet as some of my numbers were still not where the doctor wanted them to be. I wish I had done this a long time ago because the changes I am experiencing right now are amazing.

Holding Onto Memories of the Past

Today is a memorable day for two different events two years apart. Ten years ago today I moved to the big city of Nashville, Tennessee. I had just received my bachelor’s degree the day before and I was looking forward to new adventures. I remember packing the U-Haul early that morning, saying my good-byes to the girls and driving out of town. Because I would need some man power when I got there, my son and his friend followed me in my car. We finally arrived in Nashville around 9:00 pm. We had to unload everything that night because I had to have the boys at the airport the next morning to send them back to Tallahassee.

Now it was time to unpack and get settled into my new home. Not only did I have to unpack, but I had to find a job and fast. It didn’t take as long to get those boxes unpacked and get settled in. It felt great to be able to start fresh after all that I had been through the previous two years. Getting a job was another issue and took a little bit longer to get accomplished. It would be March 1st before I was able to start my new job.

My first place was on apartment off Edmonson Pike. It wasn’t too far off I-65 so it made it quick to hit the interstate to go back home or get just about anywhere I wanted to go. My son bought me a GPS for Christmas so I could find my way around town as I had never lived in a big city before. I was looking forward to learning my way around and finding all the good places to shop.

My apartment was on the 3rd floor. Not sure what I was thinking when I agreed to the third floor. It wasn’t bad until I made the trip to my parents to bring my dog home. She was a 10-year-old miniature dachshund, Annabelle. Those poor little short legs hated all those steps, so mommy carried her, to not wear her out. She was used to peeing on pee pads too, so sometimes I cheated and let her do that to avoid the steps, but mostly only on days it was raining or snowing. She hated the rain. She was only with me for a couple months before I re-homed her. I didn’t think it was fair to leave her in a house all day with nobody at home as she was used to someone always being there with her, so I found a lady who had just lost her baby and give her another baby to love. Oh how I miss my Annabelle.

On this day in 2007, we got the best call we could have ever received. My husband, Brian, was going to get the transplant he needed. He had only been on the transplant list for a couple weeks, but he was at the point that if he didn’t get the transplant soon, we would most likely loose him by the end of the year.

I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when the call came in. We had just moved most of our stuff into storage, only taking our essentials with us, to live with his mother. Brian was needing to be looked after 24-7, so the family decided this was the best option. I had returned to the apartment to clean when the call came in that we had a possible donor. I was standing in the dining room, trying to hurry up as I really needed to be by his side. Once I got the call, I called him and told him the news. He wanted me to summon all the kids to the house, so he could see them before making the drive to the hospital, which was at least two hours away. We had been told without a transplant he would surely die and with a transplant he could still die, so we were trying to prepare ourselves for the worse, but you can never prepare yourself for losing a loved one.

No sooner had I called him, and the kids and I received another call from the hospital telling us to wait. They needed to run more test on the donor organ. They would call us back. Frustration and fear swept over me like a ton of bricks. I quickly finished what I was doing, turned in the keys and got home right away. By the time I got there the children had arrived.

He took time to speak to each one individually. He wanted to give some fatherly advice to each and give them their Christmas present that he had picked out himself. After about two hours since the original call we received the second call telling us to get to the hospital. The girls were staying behind as well as our oldest son, although he came later in the night. The youngest son rode with us. That seemed to be the longest drive we had ever made from Tallahassee to Gainesville and believe me I wasn’t going the speed limit, so it shouldn’t have taken too long to get there. Not sure why I was in such a hurry, probably just the adrenaline as we were told to take our time and just come as soon as we could get there.

Once we got there, it would be a few hours before the surgery would start. We were told everything was going according to plan. The oldest son arrived before surgery was over, so the three of us were there to greet him when he came out of recovery. He looked great and he said he felt great. We thought we had received our Christmas miracle.

The next 24-48 hours would be critical as they needed to make sure the body wouldn’t reject the new organ. Because he was a diabetic, they also had to stabilize his insulin which seemed to be a little tricky at times. The first 24 hours was good. The boys ended up going home on Saturday. The youngest daughter was at a church event that her daddy insisted that she go on so she would not be there until Sunday.

When I arrived at the hospital on Sunday, things had taken a turn for the worse. The organ was still doing good, but something wasn’t right. He was in and out of it. Sometimes he knew who I was and at other times he didn’t. They said if things didn’t change, they might have to put him into a medical induced coma. I didn’t want that. At one point I was told to call the family. All the children, but our oldest daughter made it in time to see their dad one last time before our world shattered yet again. The oldest was in the parking garage when Brian slipped into a coma that he would never come out of.

It took six weeks before I could convince the doctors to let me take him home as the transplant team didn’t want to give up although the neurological team said he was brain dead. They claimed that a stroke was what put him into a coma. I still have my doubts about that.

I seldom left the hospital as I wanted to be there just in case there was a change or if he woke up. It was the most grueling six weeks of my life. He was my world…my rock. How could I go on without him?
Every year at this time I can’t help but think about all the events that took place on this day and how it affected my life so much. There are so many times that I wish I could go back to 2007 and relive those days over again, but this time with a different outcome.

The lives of my children changed so much that year. The person who held us together was gone and none of us would ever be the same again. Our family dynamic had changed, our goals changed, our futures changed, everything changed in the blink of an eye.

November Weight Loss Update

Time for an update on my weight loss. I am so proud of myself. Other than going off plan for Thanksgiving I have stuck very close to the “rules.” I have completely given up my sweet tea which is a big deal for me. I only drink water, except for my night time meds that I take with 2 oz. apple juice. I won’t lie and say it was easy because it wasn’t. Drinking water all day sucks.

On the 14th I went in for my pellet insertion for the Hormone Replacement Therapy. The only thing that hurt at the time of insertion was the needle of lidocaine to numb the area where the pellets would be inserted. I didn’t feel them go in, but boy I felt them over the next few days. I didn’t think my rear would ever quit hurting. By the end of the month I could tell a little difference in some things, but we will have to wait till my six-week follow up to see how the numbers change on my blood work.

My last weekly appointment for weigh in was on the 25th and in the last month I have lost 11 pounds. If I can stay on this track, I will exceed my goal in 9 months. I know some months will be harder than others and I know it will not be easy doing this, but I am determined.

I asked my husband if I met my goal what would I get? A cruise? He said, “you should be happy with good health.”  Definitely not what I wanted to hear. I’ll just go on a cruise without him and then he’ll wish he had jumped on board with me in this journey.

Self-Care is Priority

I decided I needed to start doing something to better my health and part of that is to lose some weight. In the last 5 years I have gained at least 50 pounds and at only 5’4” that is not good. I saw a Groupon listing for Lipo shots and because I have done them before I decided to check the place out, so I made an appointment to see what it was all about because the place does way more than just hand out Lipo shots. My first appointment was on Oct 30th. In addition to doing Lipo, they also help with weight management and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). They do bloodwork to determine what you need in regard to the HRT and come up with a plan to help you loose the number of pounds you want to lose. I told them I wanted to lose 75 pounds.

My second appointment was today with the doctor who went over my plan and blood work and told me how long it would take for them to help me get to where I wanted my ideal weight to be. I went over the diet plan and was in for a total shock. Had they told me before what type of plan this was and what little I could eat I probably would have run. The diet plan is the HCG Diet. I will be doing 6 weeks on daily HCG shots, 6 weeks off for three cycles. In addition, I do two Lipo shots per week every week for 36 weeks. I have a weekly weigh in, must track my daily food intake and drink lots and lots of water and NO sugar. Giving myself the shots is not a big deal as I have done that before. I will also be getting HRT in the form of pellets. My first insertion is on the 14th. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Wish me luck and pray for me because I will need it in order to stick to this.

Time to See a Doctor

I finally went to the doctor on the 21st. Told her about my ER visit and what had been going on. She said we had your heart checked out back in June with a stress test and echocardiogram, so she didn’t believe it was that. Instead she said I had vertigo and basically, I would have to learn to live with it. I’m afraid it’s more than just vertigo because it happens randomly and I’m more than just dizzy. She told me to continue monitoring it and if it happens again, she will refer me to a neurologist. In the meantime, we discussed changing one of my meds that I take for heart palpitations as that could be causing some of my symptoms, so we are changing that up and will wait and see what happens.