Saturday, December 31, 2011

Living proof

I was just cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry (such a festive new year's eve, right!)...and I got to thinking: "I just bought a new car."

I purchased a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic 5 days ago.  On my own.  A year and a half out of college.  No monetary help from anyone.  Just good ol fashioned saving up for a down payment, after getting my good ol fashioned bachelor's degrees from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas and getting a good ol fashioned job.  Ah, the opportunities that exist in The Heartland of America. 

MY BIG, HUGE THOUGHT:  "How many times was I told, 'You HAVE to have a credit card to buy a car; you HAVE to have a credit card to build up credit; 'I have a friend who went and tried to buy a car, and she didn't have a credit card, and they didn't LET her.'"

I really got to thinking, and my heart just really goes out to all the young adults out there in debt, all because someone told them they "have to have a credit card." This line is such crap!!!

I don't know too much about a whole lot.  But I do know that I put myself through college the old fashioned way: earning a scholarship (by getting good grades and playing sports, improving my craft over time), filling out the FAFSA to get government financial aid, and working my ass off hunting down every scholarship I could find (mostly through that I qualified for; then I applied for every single one.  Many of these had absolutely NOTHING TO DO WITH SPORTS!

Once I started college, I worked a student job to cover anything that my scholarships wouldn't; random stuff!! Answering telephones, cleaning the weight room, filing, etc..I also got my CNA license over the summer between sophomore and junior years, and then was able to have a ((very)) part-time job, for a little extra cash. 

I didn't have a car; I got rides from friends, walked everywhere, and I was just fine.  Granted, not everyone goes to school in Lindsborg, KS, but even in larger cities, if there is a college or university, there is a business district within a mile or two( OR LESS ) , CHOCK FULL of shops, delis, restaurants, bars, banks, and gas stations.  And heck, most college students are fortunate enough to get a bike (even that, I didn't have; I did borrow from friends sometimes though).

 I had some dark times during college; times where I did not know where my next amount of cash was going to come from (if I hadn't been able to put any hours in at work due to track practice and other committments).  There were times where I had ABSOLUTELY NOT A CENT TO MY NAME.  My account went negative. There were times when it was extremely tempting to get a credit card, or that I kicked myself for not having gotten one in earlier times. ((Yes, yes, I know; you have to be approved for a credit card, blah blah blah.  Go argue with someone else over something.  That's not the point of this.))

What was ever going to guarantee that I could pay off my bill though? If I was having trouble coming across money in the first place, why the hell would I put myself through the crap of not being able to pay back money I was spending that didn't even exist??  I'm so glad I refused.

My credit is not very deep; it's damn good though.  And it's all happened from doing things the old fashioned way: hard work, making the most of every single moment I am awake, and making prudent financial choices.  I did not need a financial advisor to tell me that (although some people do, and thus, this is why these people exist).

Here's to hoping that in 2012, young people out there can start making better financial choices, and set themselves up for success instead of failure with their money.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


"There is a time and purpose for everything under heaven..."

Hmmmmm. What does that mean?  Does that mean that no matter how hard we try, we can never truly control anything in our lives?  Perhaps today is our day to be sad or bummed.  Perhaps tomorrow is the time for the next door neighbor to get mugged.  I guess last month was the time to wear pink.
I'm finding myself questioning my ability to direct my own life, to be in control of the shots. Everything's going to happen a certain way, anyway.  All I can hope to control is my response to those things. 
Our responses include emotions, ideals, values, questions, not so many answers, more emotions, reactions of others, others' many things involved in our everyday cycle.  Too many to count, almost too many to bear, we usually don't consider each aspect in its individuality.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meatless Monday

My sister is visiting from Arizona this weekend.  She is supposed to fly out tomorrow morning, but we are supposed to get quite a few inches of snow tonight, so that may not happen!  At least I get her for another day! 
During her stay in Kansas, we have run a 5k to help raise funds for a mission trip to Puerto Rico, and gone down to Lindsborg and visited all the dala horses on main street.  We have taken lots of pictures (as soon as I figure out how to post them here, I will).  The 5k on Saturday was the beginning of my "re-training".  No, I didn't train for it.  We just jogged and walked it.  We stopped 3 times to walk, and we came in 4th place for our "age group".  It was not competitive for us, just fun and exercise.  It felt so great to be moving again!  After the "race", I was so pumped up!  I was running around the parking lot cheering people on and taking pictures of everyone!  They fed us free chili; that was nice of them!  It was not too cold, although after about the first 1.5 miles, my chest started burning a little.  The best (and worst) part was how MUDDY it was!  My calves were covered in mud!  And my feet were soaked!  It was the nastiest I have EVER gotten on a run in my entire running career.  But it was a blast. A good experience.  We talked a lot while we jogged and maybe even bonded a little (imagine that).  It was the first time we did anything like this together, and now, I think there will be more times to come!
When we got home after our super-long, fun Saturday, I offered to run a bath for my sister,  She was completely excited, and said, "Wait, let me go get my book!"  The book? "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.  It immediately caught my attention, but I didn't pick it up until 2 hours later.  I've hardly b een able to put it down.  Yes, the title has a curse word in it.  Yes, the authors are quite blunt and use language that is offensive.  But the truth of the matter is, this book encourages women to stop putting garbage into their bodies.  Freedman and Barnouin do this in a vegan-focused sort of way, and advocate for not eating meat or dairy products.  They consider meat "garbage".  Now, the majority of people don't think this way, I know, but it has been extremely interesting to read all the details about what any given certain kind of food does to our body, good and bad, with no big words thrown in to sound impressive, just the real truth about food.  I think it's a great book.  I'm learning a lot.
And today is my first day of a meatless diet, at least for a week.  ((The animal cruelty sections in the book really got to me, and the referring to meat as "carcass" and "animal flesh" really make one think.))  I have loved meat my whole life, but I don't want to be addicted to it, or to anything else that is harmful to my body (yes, I know, "Meat isn't harmful to your body, Gilda!"  --read the book, then come talk to me).  For now, I want to feel light, clean, and pure, and kickstart my weight loss, and not make my body work harder than it has to by digesting a bunch of....carcass.  Sorry.  I'm addicted to meat too, I'm just trying to gain a new perspective.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


So, I want to move to Salina.  I think.  At least, I know it would be easier because my friends are here, my church is here, and my job is here.  I don't want the hour in a car to burn me out like it did with my nursing home job.  This job has so much potential for me, that I don't want anything to ruin it.  I'm also feeling a little bummed (well, it's safe to say more than a little) because I can never participate in as much as I want to.  My church has stuff going on Wednesday nights, Friday nights, Saturday nights, in addition to occassional Saturday afternoon or mornings, all in addition to regular ol' Sunday mornings at church.  Most people don't want to be this involved with other people.  I, however, find the energy of other people infectious, contagious.  It is the energy of other people that constantly drives me, pulls me out of bed in the mornings, and helps see the positive in life.  I have been blessed with a church community in which I continue to develop relationships with people.  I can't help it; I'm a relationship gal.  I live to be around other people.  Sure, sometimes it's nice to have my own time, just me, or just me and Fred time, but all in all, I am at my best when I'm in a group of people.  Especially if these people are happy, positive, energetic about life, and have some of the same interests I do.  I don't know how I was ever so shy and quiet back in my pre-teen years, because as soon as I hit high school, I completely flipped around.  I love my friends.  Jodi, and her kinda crazy addiction to Justin Bieber, and her convincing me to watch the documentary and find a new respect for the amazingly talented and fortunate kid.  Christina, and her undying drive and determination to have a career in the medical field, something that sometimes I think I gave up on, she continues to strive for!  Katie, with her love of music just like mine.  F, with his passion for ALL kinds of music, no matter the genre, always being able to have an appreciation for it, as long it has a beat of some sort.  My sorority sisters; some teach me, and some look up to me.  We have this crazy web of interpersonal relationships that is really difficult to understand to even all of us, much less to anyone OUTSIDE of our circle.  I love being in relationship with other people, all the time.  We were not created to be on this Earth alone, and I take that very seriously!!
By moving to Salina, I would be closer to my true friends, who live both in Salina, and in Lindsborg.  Yes, I would be leaving a few friends behind in Ellsworth, but I can always go visit once in a while.  I wouldn't have to drive for 30 minutes each way to work, which isn't that bad, except for gas money!! I would have so much more money to my name if I didn't pay for gas the way I do.
The pros of staying in Ellsworth?  I wouldn't have to relocate Katherine, my cat.  I know this sounds extremely lame to some of you, but she is the only thing I have that is dependent on me, and I love her!  She is my baby, and I don't want to mess her life/routine up.  :-(
Another pro of staying in Ellsworth?  It's a nice, quiet, safe town.  I don't have to worry about theft or violence, or anyone running over my cat on a busy street.
Also on the pro Ellsworth side -- obviously, keeping my living situation with F.  I don't want to be away from him.  HOWEVER, I want the same kind of committment from him that I have been giving to our relationship, by commuting to work (this is the second job I do this for, and the last commute was 45 minutes each way).  So, I'm not comfortable keeping F as a "pro-Ellsworth" criterion.  I think it would be more of avoiding conflict, and I'm not completely scared of conflict.  I just want to be happy and make the most of my resources as I can.

Monday, December 12, 2011

All I want for Christmas...

Instead of buying into the current shopping frenzy, here's what I want from my friends and loved ones for Christmas:

  • Donate to a local food bank
  • Collect all your plastic, glass, and aluminum cans and bottles from your festivities and recycle them
  • Help out a family in your local neighborhood who needs help with groceries
  • Go through your house and collect all your unused stuff to donate to a mission or thrift store
  • Instead of spending an hour on Facebook, take a walk through your neighborhood and pick up trash as you go
  • Make a donation to the Crisis Pregnancy Center ((read: does not do abortions)) in Salina, KS.
  • Buy a child a book instead of a video game

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thyroid problems and such....

I'm really glad that I got to learn so much as a pre-med student. 

Now, my doctor...not so sure if he's glad or not.  See, I come in prepared for each appointment, follow-up or for a new concern.  I come armed with my lists: current symptoms, when they started, any patterns I've noticed, any new concerns I may have due to my unending research online and otherwise. 

For example, a few months ago, I was suspecting a sinus infection in myself.  ((Haha, that sounds funny)) I had these nasty headaches, in the forehead area, dry sinuses and nosebleeds, and to top it off, I was having trouble hearing in my left ear.  Poor Fred.  He had to repeat himself so many times. 

The headaches and nosebleeds went on for about 2 weeks, then the ear started acting up, so I made my appointment to go in and get my antibiotic script (read: doctor lingo for "prescription").  I think I usually make his job easier; I just walk in, tell him what's wrong and what I think it is, and he confirms it and adds to it, I get my script and I'm out the door.  I used to hesitate when it came to sharing my thoughts with him; I thought I was stepping on his toes, but I really think that doctors are so busy that they are actually grateful when a patient can come in with SOME knowledge.

Anyway, I'm sure I'm not the only person who has ever successfully "pre-diagnosed" a sinus infection. 

But today's issues are much more complicated.  My best friend, Christina, an RN, and I made a list of all my worries and concerns.  Here, I share them with you (sort of, without too many details; I still don't know who's reading this, ya know):

--Weight gain with a really difficult time to get any of it off
--Lack of energy, not wanting to do ANYTHING once its dark outside (including a lack of a desire to exercise)
--Losing hair (over the last 2 years, my hair has gotten SO much thinner; I hate it)

Today's lab results showed that my BAD cholesterol went down 20 points!! Hooray for oatmeal and fish oil.  However, my triglycerides jumped way up.  Hmmm. 

And, my thryoid FINALLY came back abnormal.  Most people aren't excited about this, but I was just really grateful to have something finally make sense, and give us a direction to head in.  I have low TSH (thryoid stimualting hormone).  So, I got to make an appointment with an endocrinologist in Wichita.  Scary.  I've never seen a specialist before, unless of course, an optometrist is considered a specialist.  Apparently they're just going to run more tests, then decide what kind of treatment I need to be on, etc.

We also made some changes to my current medication regimen that will hopefully boost my energy, to put it vaguely.

To have a medication regimen at this normal?  Apparently I'm at the median age for diagnoses of thyroid disease (Hashimoto something or another...gotta look it up).  And, all my life experiences, some very tramautic, have forced me to seek different kinds of medical help, even when I don't want to.  So for me, unfortunately, it is normal, at 23, to have a medication "regimen"...including fish oil, multivitamins, birth control pills (for MEDICAL reasons), a norepinephrine booster, plus over the counter stuff as needed.  Soon I will be probably be adding something to the effect of my thyroid (stupid gland, that refuses to work properly).  It's kinda weird to think about all the pills we take every day.  Do you have a list?

"Feeling 23 again" is a goal my doctor has set for me.  I guess I'll be defining what that is.

My First Blog

I'm sitting here at the Lindsborg Hospital.  I just had blood drawn, a lab to check my thryoid stimulating hormone, and my lipid levels, I think.  This last June, my lab results came back showing my "bad fats" a little too high, and today is the day I find out if everything I've been doing (taking fish oil, increasing cardio, eating oatmeal  5 TIMES A WEEK) has helped at all.  My doctor's appointment to review lab results, talk about meds, etc is in an hour and a half. 

What's it like to be a 23-year old with semi-bad cholesterol and possible thryoid problems?  Frustrating.  Annoying.  Not what I expected.  Not what I planned after being an athlete for so many years.  My body has gone through this crazy journey over the last...11-12 years.  But that can be the theme of my next blog.  

I felt the desire to start a blog because I know I need to reflect more, and I'm just not taking the time to do that.  I know it's important to sit down every day, look at what you're currently experiencing, and evaluate all the circumstances around you to figure out if you're moving forward in life, or just currently stuck.

I've got a lot to learn about blogging.  How much do I really want to put out here, for people to see?  What the heck are labels, and how do I use them (are they like Facebook tags??)?  Why does this thing feel the need to save my draft every minute and a half?  How do I make my page look cool and how do I put up pictures?

It kinda seems like I've just added to my nuts-o to-do list, and right before the holidays, too.  But, it's time I take my writing to some sort of "next level".  For me, that next level is this.

Wish me luck.  My blogging journey has begun.