Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Ready To Listen?

Caught this jolly fella in Santa Land in Downtown Americus

I am coming off a 14-hour work day. One of my favorites of the year – Christmas Open House in Downtown Americus. It took a couple of years to adjust to the fact that 1. Christmas Open House takes place the Thursday BEFORE Thanksgiving and 2. The City allow us to say Christmas instead of Holidays. Five years in and it seems perfectly normal. So normal that when someone asks me, “Why?”, I look at them strangely!

My work family

A lot goes into prepping a city for the holidays. Thousands of dollars, as well as hundreds of man hours. You mix that in with creativity and early holiday burn-out, it is amazing when you see the finished product. Another hazard of the job is that everyone has an opinion on what you should have done. This many years in, I realize it just comes with the territory.

Aside from an awesome event last night, we kicked the day off with a ribbon cutting. Yes, it is straight out of an episode of Parks & Rec.

A great turn-out

Earlier in the year, the American Street Trolley bit the dust. It was way past time for a new one, and boy oh boy, did we get an upgrade. This one has heating & air, AND is accessible for wheelchairs. What a game changer!

It is the little things that make a community special, you know?

Today is a super busy day for me – getting all of my loose ends at work tied up before I go on vacation next week. I started the morning with depositing my travel funds into my fun-money account and now I am getting ready to pick up my prescriptions for the trip.

Tim called a little while ago and asked could we have family over tonight to roast hotdogs and marshmallows by the fire. *Sigh*

I don’t mind, I just have to go buy veggie dogs for me! (And no marshmallows.) Life gets a little complicated when you are trying to live healthier. For example, I was soooo hungry when I woke up, so I ordered a 20 oz. smoothie from Smoothie King. As a HiTone Fitness member, we get a perk at the establishment. It is just a little discount, but sure does help when you add those enhancers. I ordered a favorite of mine – The Chocolate Peanut Power Smoothie. It has 690 calories, which is way more than I typically allow myself at a meal – but I went in on a mission. I wanted to fill up and really hit my macros. Particularly my carbs, protein and fiber. I added the fiber enhancer, immune booster (both to help my system before I travel,) and electrolytes, because I recognize that I am a little dehydated today.

I did another something I have been dreading – I gave myself an at-home Covid test. I wanted to be absolutely certain that I would not have any surprises when we got to Edinburgh. We have to take a test upon arrival and yes… I did come into contact with someone on Saturday that did, indeed, test positive. Though everyone in this person’s life tested negative, I waiting until the very end to give it a go. All is well!! No covid.

Folks – here is another reason to get vaccinated! I spent a considerable amount of time with this person, they were coughing up a storm. I was told they had been to the doctor and it was pneumonia, but not covid. But turns out…

I have the 2 full Pfizer and the booster just 2 weeks ago. I am negative. Vaccines, do indeed, work.

Speaking of trips – AHHHHHHHHH! I am beyond thrilled! I plan to blog about my experience in a three part series – Edinburgh, Stirling/Inverness, and Isle of Skye. Stay tuned for that!

When I get back to town, I will hit the ground running with a lot of work-related activities. So much to do, so little time to do it in!

Update on knees: I feel like a new woman. I almost cried waking up this morning and stepping onto the floor and not having to suck in breath from the pain. AMAZING!!

Alright, I have things to do… LOTS of things. I know you guys are busy too. I hope to tackle some topics in the coming days. You guys were always good at letting me know what you wanted me to write about. Feel free to message me with some ideas.

Until next time….

Pass the Cranberries and Haggis

Almost five years now, I have dealt with some fairly tough knee pain. Got a second opinion today and here is what we know:

  1. Lose the weight. (Yep, working on it.)
  2. Osteoarthritis
  3. Bone spurs
  4. Torn MCL

Soooo…. I got TWO cortisone shots today, one in each knee. First timer here, folks, and man oh man – I am soooooo glad I did. It has been about an hour and the pain is subsiding.

I say – BRING ON THE HIGHLANDS!

Okay, let me back up.

I’m going to Scotland this Sunday. Super excited about this trip because it is with one of my best friends in the whole world – Telisa. We have been talking about traveling to Europe together for almost 30 years now and FINALLY we are taking our trip.

As we were crowd-sourcing information about touring Edinburgh and the Highlands, many of our friends informed up that Scotland is super hilly and of course – there are the mountains. All I could think was, “How in the world was I going to navigate those hills with my knees.”

I decided to take my healing into my own hands, called my friend that is a Physical Therapist, and began 8 sessions of PT. Still… there was a little pain, so I got a second opinion. Dr. Fennessy gave me two shots, one in each knee.

Now I can scream from the top of my lungs – “BRING ON THE HIGHLANDS!”

Now that is fixed, time to transform into an elf for the Christmas Open House that is about to happen. Yes, a 14 hour work-day.

Ho! Ho! Ho! and pass the cranberry sauce and haggis.

Hello, Old Friend

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On the 31st of January, in 2019, I am re-committing myself to blogging again.

I know, I know… I have said it before, and I will probably have to reaffirm again. But it is a start. A beautiful start to what is quickly shaping up to be a pretty good year.

I continue to heal from the surgery back in October. Yes, I am still healing. But it IS happening and that makes my heart happy. I’ve even made strides to get a little healthier by incorporating exercise back into my life. As for food, well, I have jumped on this culinary band wagon and have been attempting to cook my way through Julia Child’s famous cook book: Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Vol. 1 AND 2.)

I have a few more goals in mind for this year. I hope to take a photography class in the Spring that my husband purchased for my Christmas gift. It will be with the Atlanta School of Photography. FINALLY, people. I’ve been saying I wanted to do this for years. I’m also hoping to write again.

So here I am.

I also plan to reconnect with the people I love the most. Including old friends, as well as making sure I invest time and energy into growing the relationships that are newer. I even find myself attending church each Sunday, albeit not a Catholic Church. Tim & I decided to invest in our little town of Plains and we began attending a church just a few blocks from our home. It is a Methodist Church and the pastor is really good. I miss a lot of the elements of the Catholic Church, but unfortunately in South Georgia, the pickings for a church that fits my needs is not very strong. I cannot formally join the Methodist Church, because I do not want to part with the Catholic Church. However, my husband is a Methodist and it is simply having him transfer his membership. Good enough for me. It will serve my needs, for now.

Life has been moving along quite calmly – Tim and I have been coming up with house projects, as well as travel options for the year. The financial strain from building a house is easing up a bit and we are ready to move to the next phase.

The holidays were spectacular. I tried to attend every single event that I could. Here is a quick look at my year-end from November & December.

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We had a delicious and delightful Thanksgiving at my Mom & Dad’s house in Haddock.

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Spent some time visiting with Tim’s childhood friends. Apparently, it was such a momentous occasion that it made the local paper. 😉

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We spent a lot of quality time together. He did a great job taking care of me post-op.

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We spent a lot of time with our kids and grand.

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Isn’t she growing up so fast? And so, so, so beautiful. This is my grand-daughter – Cotton.

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This was my third year as the official light flipper during the Plains Christmas Tree Lighting. First time that it had rained. And.. um.. I was afraid I would electrocute myself. 😉

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We had a very successful Christmas Open House at the Americus Visitor Center.

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Tim came to support his sister & I as she judged the Americus Christmas Parade and I was the emcee.

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As a family, I introduced Advent into our home and all of the traditions that come with it.

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I reconnected with old & new friends in Macon.

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I even celebrated Hanukkah!

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We set up a cookie making night with the girls. They did a fantastic job!

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I got the wonderful opportunity to serve as an Ambassador for the Andersonville National Cemetery.

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One of the most moving moments during the Wreaths Across America.

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I had my coworkers come out to my house for a little Christmas party!

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We celebrated Christmas in Plains with President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalyn.

 

We threw our very first Christmas party in our new home.

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Got to enjoy a fantastic Christmas party with my work.

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AND – I got to emcee it!!!

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Our tree went up. I did it by myself because Tim was super-duper sick!

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And finally, I have been Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

And we are only on day 31 of the new year.

So much good is in store and I can’t wait to experience it all!

Here’s to 2019! I hope you embrace each day as a gift!