Monthly Archives: April 2012

Doctor Zhivago

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I can now officially cross off #26 on my list!  I watched Doctor Zhivago tonight, all 3 hours and 17 minutes of it.  My stepmom and I have talked about watching this movie for a while now.  So I’m so glad I created my freedom list to actually do all these kind of things (you know…those things that you say you’re going to do and never get around to them).  To be honest, I’ve been wanting to see this movie ever since I went to Russia several years ago.  It did bring back many memories from that trip.

Well let me tell you a little bit about Doctor Zhivago.  In the beginning, I was really wishing for closed captions because often I had no idea what they were saying.  Needless to say, their Russian accents were very strong.  We got used to their accents, but then had to actually think about what was going on.  The remote control remained very close to my house throughout the movie so I could pause and ask my stepmom if she understand what was going on.  She was often confused as well.  What was that?  Who are they?  Are they the good guys or the bad guys?  Why are doing that?  Even though I’ve been to Russia, I didn’t know a lot about the Russian Revolution.  I learned a lot about the Romanovs and Russia during World War II, which I must say was way worse than anything I ever learned about in school.  I definitely want to learn more about Russia now.  Going to the library to check out books on Russia will definitely be in my future.  One thing I do remember about Russia is the harshness of their winters there.  I don’t plan to ever visit Russia during the winter.  Being a Texas girl who hardly sees snow (and when she does it hardly sticks), I don’t think I could handle it.  I would be wearing about 7 layers…which would probably make me look that dorky little brother in A Christmas Story, the one who can’t put his arms down because his snow suit is so big.  Most of the this movie happened during the winter.  Their winters I’ve heard are extremely long and harsh, much like our Texas summers I bet.  Getting back to the movie, there are three words I would use to describe Doctor Zhivago: war, devastation, and sadness.  It was a good epic movie, which actually got 5 Academy Awards, including one for cinematography.  I completely agree with that.

In my picture of the movie, of course I had to put it beside my Russian Matryoshka doll, or nesting doll.  I bought that doll in St. Petersburg at a little street craft fair.

Oh, and by the way, I’m SO glad that you want to do some of the things on my freedom list with me!  I can’t wait to actually be able to be “myself” again and get out in the world.  I have my reevaluation with the neurologist tomorrow, so we shall see what she says.  

Stuck at home

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As you know, my car accident was on Thursday, April 6th.  I was pretty out of it for the first couple of days.  Several friends and family were wonderful and came over with food.  I barely remember them being here.  To give you an example, the woman who did my taxes called on that Friday to tell me that my taxes were done, and I have absolutely no recollection of talking to her.  Apparently I told her that I would be there on Monday to sign the paperwork.  Yeah.  I don’t remember that at all.  It’s funny to think about now.

The week after my accident, I was still presenting some problems, like wooziness, dizziness, memory loss, and being overall loopy.  I felt like I was constantly out of it, basically like I had several cocktails.  You know the feeling….head can’t stay still, feel like you are spinning, quick thinking goes out the window, can’t get your words out right.  So I made an appointment with my regular doctor.  I told her of my symptoms and asked if I could go see a neurologist.  I also needed a note for my school.  You see, in order to stay compliant with my school district, if I was to go back to school anytime after Thursday, April 13th I had to have a doctor’s note.  I didn’t have a medical background, but I definitely knew I was NOT ready to go back to school.  Have you been around elementary kids recently?  You have to be on your toes.  You have to think fast.  You have to act like you know what you’re doing.  I felt like I was drunk all the time.  Me on my toes and think fast?  That was not going to happen.  My doctor agreed with me and luckily got me in to see the neurologist that very day.  They were going to squeeze me in.  I had God’s favor, that’s for sure.

The neurologist was absolutely wonderful.  She had me to do these tests (close your eyes and touch your nose, walk one foot in front of the other, etc)…basically tests that they make you do if they think you’ve been driving intoxicated.  At least that’s what I’ve seen on TV.  I thought this was ironic since I was feeling drunk and loopy.  She said that I had developed something called post-concussive syndrome.  It can affect people differently, causing headaches, memory loss, dizziness, wooziness, and other symptoms.  She said that my body would heal, but I needed to rest and give it time.  She wanted me to stay home and rest for at least 2 weeks.  Then she would re-evaluate me and hopefully allow me to go back to work, part-time.

At first, I would notice that I couldn’t even sit on my couch normally.  I had to sit with my head resting on the back on the couch or I would woozy.  Sitting at my dining room table would cause me to get woozy, especially if I was sitting while leaning forward.  I would feel like I was going around and around in circles.  It was THE weirdest feeling.

Going to Kroger or Target become the most exciting thing ever!  But I would dizzy when I was putting the items from my cart onto the conveyor belt.  You wouldn’t think about it, but you move back and forth, back and forth when doing that.  I would feel like the room was spinning.  And another time I felt dizzy was transferring the wet clothes from the washer to the dryer.  That back and forth motion again.

Being forced to stay at home…you think it would be awesome.  You could watch movies, read books, do those Pinterest projects around the house that you’ve been putting off.  Not me.  Reading books makes me woozy.  I can’t do any Pinterest projects because I’d be leaning forward too much.  Anything strenuous thinking wears me out, and I get really tired.  So it’s been a lot of TV for me.  Reality TV shows, daytime talk shows, and new shows I’ve never watched before.  I’m getting cabin fever, big time.  I miss talking to people and laughing with people.  I’ll call my friends in the middle of the day just to chat with them, but they are at work and can’t talk very long.  I constantly check Facebook and Pinterest and my email.  I miss people.  Luckily my three dogs keep me company at home all day, but they haven’t learned to talk back, well except Maisy.  She “talks” a lot, but I have no idea what she’s saying except that she wants a treat.

I’ve been wanting to do accomplish one of my adventures from My Freedom List.  I was so disappointed that I didn’t get to go to the zoo that Sunday after my accident, which was my actual birthday.  I haven’t even celebrated my birthday yet.  I will.  But I’d like to feel “normal” when I celebrate it, not feeling like I’ve had several cocktails when I haven’t even actually had one.  What’s the fun in that?  So I was looking at my list, and I have found one thing I can do while I’m still stuck at home this week.  Watch Dr. Zhivago.  My stepmom is going to come over one day this week, and we are going to watch it together.  Yeah!  I’m so excited to be able to cross something off my list besides “start a blog”.  I’ll let you know what I think about it.  I’ve heard it’s a long, long, long movie and a little depressing.  Did I mention long?  But I’ve been to Russia, and I really want to see it.  Hence, why I included it on my list.  After the depressing movie, we might just have to watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Better Off Dead, two of my favorite comedies ever.  They always put me in a good mood.  Ta ta for now!

My Freedom List

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Well you’ve been waiting and watching for THE list.  Here it is.  Here is My Freedom List.

1. Learn Spanish with Rosetta Stone

2. Find and join a two-stepping group

3. Learn how to sew

4. Tape record Meme’s stories

5. Start a blog (Check!)

6. Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity

7. Go hiking

8. Create a shadow box memory of my mom

9. Make Meme’s red velvet cake

10. Cook a complete authentic Chinese meal for friends

11. Visit the Dallas World Aquarium

12. Visit the Kimball Museum

13. Take a professional picture of Meme

14. Learn salsa dancing

15. Learn swing dancing

16. Go Christmas caroling

17. Go to a pumpkin patch

18. Go watch the airplanes land

19. Take iconic pictures at the Texas State Fair

20. Ride in a gondola at the Las Colinas canals

21. Try a local dish in Thailand

22. Watch the sun rise on a beach

23. Read a book about the Vietnam War before traveling to Vietnam

24. Perform a random act of kindness

25. Read The Message Bible, cover to cover

26. Watch Dr. Zhivago

27. Find a favorite new hole-in-the-wall restaurant

28. Watch the entire box set of Indiana Jones

29. Go indoor rock climbing

30. Play in the rain

31. Take photos of the animals at the zoo

32. Go to an Irish pub and hear an Irish band

33. Go to Madri Gras

34. Plant an herb garden

35. Enroll in a culinary class

36. Go to a concert or performance at Bass Hall

37. Go to the Westfest Polka Festival

38. Go zip lining

39. Send a package to the troops

If you would like to join me in any of my adventures, please leave a comment below.  I would love to have company!

The Unexpected Birthday

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My birthday weekend did NOT turn out as I had expected.  In any way, shape, or form.  I had big plans this weekend: go junk shopping with a friend, go to the movies with another friend, go to the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, go to the Fort Worth zoo and take pictures (one of the adventures on my freedom list), and lastly take pictures of my friend’s little ones.  Well none of that happened.  And I’m perfectly OK with that.  I’m grateful to be here, and I’m grateful to be alive.  Let me tell you all about it….

My good friend, N’Tash, and I were going to Bunco across town.  N’Tash isn’t in our regular group, but she was subbing for someone else.  So she and her 16-year-old son, Landon, came over to my house.  I was going to drive us to Bunco, and Landon was going to stay at my house and dog-sit.  My dogs simply adore Landon and love to cuddle with him on the couch while watching movies.

We got in my Mini Cooper in the driveway, buckled up, looked both ways, and backed up out of the driveway. That’s all I remember.

The next thing I remember I was laying still on a backboard on a gurney with a neck brace around my neck, not being able to move and not knowing where I was.  I have never been so scared in all my life.  I remember being wheeled down the hallway, with the only things I could see were the ceiling tiles.  I would occasionally see peoples’ heads pop up in my line of vision.  I couldn’t sit up or move my head or anything.  I kept thinking this was a bad dream and that I was going to wake up.  I’m going to open my eyes and this neck brace will be off.  I’ll be OK.  It’s just a bad dream.  And then I remember my Aunt Lana and Uncle David being there, and I knew it was not a dream.  Then my dad and stepmom came into the room.  Then some of my Bunco group came into the group.  My poor Bunco group was so worried about me.  Bunco starts at 7:00pm, and I am never late, so they knew something was up.  A couple of them got in their car and drove to my house, hoping to find the route that I took to get to their house.  They were driving up and down the streets of Irving.  But by that time, all the debris had been moved away.  They decided to call Baylor Irving, the main hospital of Irving.  However, they said I was not there.  So then someone mentioned that if I was really bad, then they would have taken me to Parkland, the main trauma hospital of Dallas.  The person that answered said that I was there, and that I was in an emergency.  So off my Bunco group left in their car to come see me at Parkland.  I loved the fact that they were so worried about me and came up to see me.  You see, I still didn’t know what had happened, and I didn’t know anybody’s numbers since they were all in my phone.  When you have a cell phone, why would you ever need to memorize people’s phone numbers, right?  Well my phone was nowhere to be found – I was hoping it was in my car (we found it in their the next day).

I remember them telling me that they would have to cut my shirt.  Oh well.  I also remember thinking they were taking off my clothes and were going to see my naked.  Amazing what you don’t care about when you know that doctors are just trying to keep you alive.  The doctors and nurses were so patient and soft-spoken.  I remember them asking me questions like what day was it, what month was it, etc….many of them I didn’t know the answer to, and I just guessed.  I was taken in to have a CAT Scan, given a major pain medication, and had all of my vitals checked.  The CAT Scan came back normal, so I got to get that neck brace off.  Yeah – that thing made my neck hurt.  Then they cleaned off my forehead from all the blood and stitched me up.  I got three stitches on my upper right forehead.  I have been thinking about bangs.  Maybe now is a good time to get them.  Surprisingly, I only had to stay in the hospital for three hours before they released me to go home.

So let me fill you in on the accident as it was told to me…..N’Tash and I backed up out of the driveway, and the next thing she remembers is that we were spinning.  Someone had hit my car which caused us to spin and spin on the street, right in front of my house.  Remember that quote that says most accidents happen within 5 miles of your house?  Well, mine happened within 5 feet of my house.  When we stopped spinning, N’Tash looked over at me and freaked out.  I had passed out, with blood all over my forehead, and was gurgling, like I was choking.  She was extremely scared for me.  To give you some background, N’Tash and I have been friends since 6th grade, and my mom would have adopted her she loved her so much.  So we go way back.  She’s been a rock for me in the past and would do anything for me.  I can only imagine the fear that she had when she first saw me.  She immediately got out her phone and called 911. Then she ran into my house to get her son, Landon, who was running out front because he heard the commotion.  My neighbors were also running out to the accident because they heard the commotion as well.  Everyone was willing to help and was very concerned about me.  Two ambulances came, one for me and one for N’Tash.  I was still unconsciousness, so I had no idea what was going on around me.  They put the neck brace around my neck and then tried to get the backboard to me.  They tried getting it to me from the back windshield (most of my back windshield was lying in the street), but that didn’t work.  They finally got it through the passenger side and fixed me up.  I’ve seen scenes like this on Grey’s Anatomy, but to realize that you were the center of it is unfathomable. Simply surreal.

My family and friends have been wonderful.  My stepmom spent the first two nights with me.  She even took me back to the ER (Las Colinas Medical Center ER) because my pain medication was not working, and I couldn’t sleep.  I also had bad nausea and was vomiting.  She was so patient.  The ER doctors said that I had a major concussion, which was causing the major headaches and nausea with the vomiting.  They hooked me up with an IV and got me a new CAT Scan, since they said CAT Scans can often change within the first 24 hours.  They gave me fluids for my dehydration and a new pain medication.  Things improved after that.  I get sleepy very often, but that’s to be expected.

My car is totaled (at least they are pretty sure it is – I don’t see how you could look at the picture and think it’s not totaled), and I have bumps and bruises (one huge purple one), three stitches, and am sore all over my body.  But I am alive.  I am grateful for more days on this earth to live out my adventures.  I am grateful that God has allowed this experience to show me just how loved I really am, from my family and friends, and even from people that I don’t know very well.  Thank you God.  I pray that You use my story for your glory.

Turning 39

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One week from today, I will turn 39.  For the past month or so, I have been dreading it.  Simply dreading it.  I don’t know what it is about turning 39.  After all, they say that 40 is the new 30.  I wasn’t quite on board with that philosophy.

There’s something about turning 39 and being single.  I never ever thought I’d be single at my age.  A couple of friends are getting married this summer.  Of course, I am happy for them, but I’m wondering when it’s going to happen for me.  I would love to be a wife and a mom.  However, I am a firm believer that God has a plan for my life, a plan that is far better than anything I could ever dream of.  My favorite verse is Ephesians 3:20 – Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.

Thinking about my birthday made me think about some things.  I want to live my life to the fullest, having no regrets.  I don’t want to look back on my single days and say, “I wish I had _______.”  I want to live a life of gratitude, not crying in a pity party of one.  So I started thinking, “How can I be grateful for my singleness, instead of wishing for what I don’t have?”  The answer is freedom.  I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want.  I have the freedom to do things I’ve always wanted to do.

I couldn’t get the thought out of my head.  So I brought up the idea to one of my best friends.  She absolutely loved the idea and helped me come up with my freedom list, things I want to do while I’m single.  Now I’ve had many amazing experiences in my life, from climbing the Great Wall of China to skydiving in New Zealand to rocking orphans to sleep in Romania.  However, I’ve overlooked some of the “small stuff”.

In the beginning, I was just thinking of creating a small list of maybe 10 things.  However, remember my favorite verse?  God doesn’t do small.  I had a feeling God wanted this to be bigger than I had originally thought.  So…since I’m turning 39, I created My Freedom List to have 39 adventures, things I’ve wanted to do but have never done.  We all have things that we’ve wanted to do but have never done. We tell ourselves, “I’ll do it next week.”  Then when next week comes, we never get around to it.  So no more procrastinating for me. I have 39 things on my list, and I will have exactly one year to complete them, all while I’m 39.

Tune in next time to read My Freedom List!