Y2R Adventure 23: Nail Art

Nails I'd like (Pic by Bellashoot.com)
Many, many more at http://www.pinterest.com/donalynr/nail-art/

Nails I create

What I did:  Create Nail Art, aka a fancy manicure

When I did it: On and off over the past few months

Notes:  I'm not very good at the fine details. I haven't figured the best ways to clean the tiny brushes since I've been using nail remover pads instead of a bottle of liquid.

The Takeaway/What I learned:  Watch more videos on youtube until I can produce nicer results

Do Again?:  Yes, I'll try it again since I haven't achieved that beautiful, clean line yet. But I think stickers might be the way to go for me.

Rant:  It's like watching paint dry...literally. And you have to have dry nails before you add the other colors. 

Rave:  The pictures on pinterest, like Bellashoot's, are so cool. I'll get there some day with more patience and practice. 

Words of Wisdom:  Get the right tools, watch tutorials and have loads of time and patience to achieve professional results.


Things I've Learned From Kelly & Michael

My list is limited to what I know about them from their time on Live with Kelly and Michael.
(Pic property of ABC)

  1. A positive attitude + a winning disposition = A successful life
  2. Openness breeds familiarity and camaraderie
  3. Hard work, flexibility and versatility pay off in the form of better options.
  4. Good things happen to good people.
  5. Good health is a requirement for a great life.
  6. Good manners gets you further toward your goals.
  7. A good sense of humor is a requirement for a happy life.
  8. Don't get hung up on your physical, mental, educational or any perceived flaws or deficits.
  9. Good parenting = good kids.
  10. open for comment
Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan, thank you for being a good role model and good morning companions.

Are you a fan? Why? 


Y2R Adventure 22: Allergy Testing

What I did:  Got allergy tested after decades of chronic allergy and sinus problems.

When I did it: April 2014

Notes:  I found out that I wasn't allergic to the things I thought I was allergic to. Those things are "irritants," not true, histamine-producing allergies.

The Takeaway/What I learned: Don't shy away from things you're scared to do. Get it over with and deal with reality. 

Do Again?:   If they don't find my food blood tests, yes.

1)  The office personnel of this doctor was atrocious. Mistake after mistake. Too bad. He was a great ENT, as were everyone who treated/tested me for related things.
2)  They lost my food allergy test results, if they ever did them.
3)  I'm allergic to cotton?!
      ***They kept my blood long enough to reorder the food testing. Turns out I'm allergic to oats and hazelnuts, too.**

Rave:  I'm not allergic to my dog :)

Words of Wisdom:  "Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."  Marie Curie


Y2R Adventure 21: A Funeral and Other Family Drama

What I did: Return to my hometown for a family funeral

When I did it: March 2014


When tragedy struck, I made plans to return to my hometown. My family needed me, especially my mother. I arranged childcare and arranged for a hotel room so that my estranged sister could stay with my parents. 
At the end of the funeral, my grieving aunt walked across the graveyard to me. "You told me 'anything you need'.This is the thing you can do to for me." She puts an arm around my waist and turns me toward my sister. 


"I need something good to come out of this day. And this is what I want." She kept her grip tight as she walked--dragged me over to meet her face to face. 

I laughed nervously and tried to hold us back. I protested; my aunt persisted. "I must love you even more than I know, Aunt M," I said as I gave up the fight. She led me like a lamb to slaughter.
My cousin, standing near my sister, saw what was coming her way. She backed out of the scene slowly. Then one look at the panic on my face and she stepped back into the fray. She grabbed my hand and held on. I squeezed her hand in gratitude.
The "ambush" (my sister's word) didn't go so well. We made a big scene, but not much progress. Not that I was surprised. See, my estranged sister and I had already made contact, before the funeral started. I saw her late entry into the graveyard and had walked over to accompany her to the graveside. She recoiled when I approached. I withdrew and headed closer to hear the stories told by my grieving relatives, but not before I'd handed her one of the clean tissues I'd brought for myself. 

No biggie, as I as leaving immediately after the service. We wouldn't see each other again on that trip. I'd head back to my life and away from the tatters of my childhood.  

I know our reconciliation is my parents' biggest wish. For their sake, I'm hoping we can be in the same room together, without all this unnecessary, unfounded drama. As for me, I'm apathetic. She has free will. I harbor no ill will for her thoughts toward me. I wish her peace and happiness. If her life doesn't include me, then it doesn't include me. Sometimes you were born into the same family, and that's the majority of what you have in common. As for me, "family" may not be blood; "family" are the ones you love and count on, and the ones who love and count on you back. Maybe one day we'll become family again.

Rest in peace, my dear uncle and assorted aunts, cousins and grandparents.
The Takeaway/What I learned:  Be there for others. Sometimes your presence is more precious than anything else you can offer.
Do Again?:  When necessary.

Rant:  Considering that I talk to dead people, you'd think I'd be hospitals and funeral homes. I'm not. Because my sensing abilities are stronger than my seeing abilities, these places always spook me. I can feel the presences, I can sense the activity. But if I've dragged myself to either place, it's because of a loved one. I'm likely to be emotional, not detached and sensing. 

Rave:  Although I ended up spending most of the wake outside in the rocking chair, meditating away far away from the casket, I stayed until the end. It meant a great deal to my mom, aunts and cousins, to share in the grief. It meant something to me and to them. It cemented our relationships and gave me more people who have my back. I'm glad I went to celebrate the lost loved one and celebrate the living.

Words of Wisdom:  What we do for others shows our love.


Y2R Adventure 20: I Joined a Gym

What I did: Joined a Short-Term Gym for 6 weeks


  • to train myself to jog for longer periods for the upcoming 4k with my family 
  • to get myself back in an exercise habit, post-asthma diagnosis crisis
  • to learn new weight training moves so that I couldwould do weight bearing exercises on my own
  • to get some social time with some new acquaintances
  • to lose weight
  • to tone and build muscle
  • to get back into my skinny clothes 

When I did it: Mid-April to Mid-May

Notes:  I used a prepaid, discount coupon to make it more affordable. Going into this adventure, I knew from my past experiences that I didn't want to go longer than my 6 weeks. Drive time seems like such a waste of time. Besides, I have a dog who'd love the extra exercise.

As it turned out, I quit before my last week, after ditching a session or two. The workout, while very effective, was too strenuous for me. Even with modifications, I ended up with exercise induced headaches. The 30-minute running on a treadmill, followed by a kick-ass weight training workout, was just too much for one session. I came home exhausted (normal), too exhausted to do my work and chores and too exhausted to work out the next day (not good for a mom and writer). Now you know one of the reasons why my blog postings dwindled to nothing.

The Takeaway/What I learned: Know your body.  I know that I have headaches, muscle weaknesses from prior injuries and  my asthma to contend with. I know I need to do cardio + weight training to stay healthy. I know that I can accomplish the same things in my home, IF I do it.

Do Again?:   At that gym, probably. At  home, yes. 

But I know all about slacking off, so,

I promise to myself, my husband and my kids that I will continue to do both cardio and weight training workouts. Together those workouts optimize my energy and life. I will lose the excess weight I accumulated when asthma attacks disabled my life. I will continue to challenge myself physically so that I can grow stronger.I will continue to increase my health so that I don't miss out on any adventures.

1. Darn headaches. I took all the precautions I could and still they waylaid my efforts.
2. In spite of breathing properly, pacing myself, making modifications, taking my medications correctly, drinking protein shakes and eating every 2-3 hours to keep my blood sugar up, and drinking enough water to be well-hydrated, I wasn't able to budge the number on the scale. 

**Update since post was written:  The numbers are finally going down with a more frequent (near daily) moderate workout using the exercises I learned at the gym.

Rave:  I see the muscles coming in. Then one morning, I took the dog for a 4k jog/walk session for no reason other than I wanted to jog. I repeat, I wanted to jog. Then I went even further, faster without the dog. Don't look now! I think I might be becoming an occasional jogger. I will continue to jog occasionally, mixing in other activities to keep my exercise routine fresh. I will reach my health and weight goals.

Words of Wisdom:

Try and try again. Yes, I'd done--and quit--the gym thing before. This time, I selected a realistic time period and I went long enough to learn what I needed to know.

Know yourself, especially what motivates you. When my workouts took me away from the reason I'd started--to enable myself to spend MORE quality time with my family--I knew I had to end things early.

How do YOU stay healthy? Do you exercise for the fun of it and/or for the health of it? Please comment below.


Y2K Adventure 19: DIY Plumbing Repair


What I did:   A DIY Toilet Repair

When I did it: A few weeks ago, on the weekend


DIYer It's not like I've never done toilet repairs before. The last few times I was nervous and couldn't quite figure things out. In the end, I needed to get someone else to complete the job. 

I was fairly certain of the problem this time. Although I'd never replaced this particular toilet part before, I felt certain that I could. But if I was wrong, if I failed, we'd have big leaks that would cascade to the first floor. I was torn between confidence and nervousness. 

History of Fear  

Last Time Just before we moved here, we sustained major damage from a broken water main outside that drained back inside into the lower level of our last house. That one, uncontrollable, unstoppable accident cost us many hours of physical labor and many dollars to repair and replace what insurance wouldn't cover. 

The part that haunted me most:  the kids had discovered the damage. They'd stepped into the playroom, and the floating floor squished under their feet. Water was rising up to the outlets. What if there had been a tragedy? I had trouble getting over that particular one. 

Then there was the insurance. They blamed the homeowners, citing a water main break outside the house as a "preventable" occurrence. I cried lots of tears in frustration those few months while we labored long into the night to tile the 20 X 20 ft. space. Before we were done, we had copper pipe leaks .in a bathroom above this area. DC Metro area was famous for this problem. Still, we had to split our resources and start tearing out the bathroom before we'd finished the basement. 

I haven't made any plumbing repairs since.

This time
Last time, the problem was beyond our control. This time, the potential success or damage would be directly dependent on me. 

It took me one week to get myself to the store, and another two weeks up to try the repair. It's silly, I know. Yet I faced my fear, took a chance that I could conquer this situation, and...succeeded. Done and done.

So while this adventure wasn't glamorous, it got me back into the DIY game. For that, I'm grateful.
The Takeaway/What I learned: Sometimes you have to try and try again.

Do Again?: As a homeowner, it's very likely.

Rant:  None.

Rave:  I saved so much $ by doing it myself.

Words of Wisdom:  Consult books, articles and video before starting DIY projects.

What's your silly fear/obstacle? How did you overcome, or plan to overcome? How do you buck up for those irrational, little things? Please comment below.