Health Update Time: It’s All Good… Well, Mostly Good!

Howdy Readers, Friends, Loved Ones.

Much like the President and his State of The Union, I feel like coming here and posting a big ole update about my health and where it stands is something I like to do, and I do on a sorta regular basis.  I mean, it’s totally as legit at the State of the Union, right?

I mention my health in passing, and for the sake of advocacy, understanding, and information – I like to be an open book.  It’s been more than eight years since my battle against Stage III Lymphoma played out publicly in college – but my own health issues and ordeals are not over.  In going through all of that in front of so many others, I realized that by being open, I was helping others.  So many people who’ve dealt with cancer have reached out to me, and I’ve helped how and where I can.   Yes, it’s in small and tiny ways, but good ways nonetheless.  So, when I can… I’ve been able to offer compassion, support, empathy, and love.  And now with my sweet ole blood disease, I am just doing what I know how to do: be a blabbermouth, and if anyone needs help, I’ll do my best.

I have porphyria.

It’s a blood disease.  It’s genetic.  There’s no cure, and you have it forever.

It’s complicated, weird, hard to explain, hard to understand – yes, it’s all of these things… but, it’s manageable.

By far the biggest, best, and most amazing breakthrough in my life as a person with acute porphyria was the DNA test I had done in Hawaii.  I know the exact mutation in my genetic code that causes the blood disease I have.  And if you think you’re special – allow me to trump you.  I am, to date, THE ONLY person to have ever been tested with this exact mutation.  Talk about ONE OF A KIND!

Now.  I know I’m not really all that unique.  The likelihood that members of my family share this specific mutation is very high.  We are likely a one-of-a-kind porphyria family.  And given how genetic diseases and mutations work, well it’s not really that fancy.

So… onto the good stuff:

HOW AM I DOING?

I’m okay.  I’ve had some attacks lately.  Triggers-and-attacks is the cycle of my disease, with lovely periods of calm remission in between.  Triggers for me include stress, illness, medications of certain kinds, alcohol, preservatives, lack of sleep, and more. Around the holidays I was eating tons of processed meat and cheeses, which I love, but which are oh so bad for me.  Add to that the ole Santa Pub Crawl I couldn’t miss out on, and a lot of travel and staying up late, and well – I created my own little perfect storm, didn’t I?

At the Santa Pub crawl we held in Fredonia, much like the real giant Santa pub crawl that takes place in Buffalo every year!

at the santa pub crawl we held in fredonia, much like the real giant santa pub crawl that takes place in buffalo every year!

a totally weird and silly pic from that night

a totally weird and silly pic from that night

i did too much of this

i did too much of this

and delicious as it is, i ate way too much of this kind of stuff during the holidays.

and delicious as it is, i ate way too much of this kind of stuff during the holidays.

i stayed up all night while visiting my sister for christmas eve.  d'oh! i need sleep!

i stayed up all night while visiting my sister for christmas eve. d’oh! i need sleep!

 

I did.  I made some bad choices… and I payed up for it.  I felt pretty crummy for a good chunk of December.  I modified my behavior though, because I love my body and want to give myself the best shot possible.  Even though some choices seem tough in the moment, in the long run they’re important.

so i abstained from booze for the rest of the holidays, even christmas day and new year's eve!

so i abstained from booze for the rest of the holidays, even christmas day and new year’s eve!

outfit repeat, but really - here i am as the d.d. on new year's!

outfit repeat, but really – here i am as the d.d. on new year’s!

After a while of clean living and good choices, I seemed to have really pulled out of things.

at duggs' work's winter party - we had a blast, and i felt pretty good.

at duggs’ work’s winter party – we had a blast, and i felt pretty good.

I am feeling better now.  At last month’s visit to my docs, we adjusted my meds.  I am now happily on a new form of medication that I get through a patch.  Isn’t technology rad?  Since porphyria affects my liver and its enzymes and red blood cell production, getting meds into my body without bothering my liver is excellent.  Yesterday I went back again, and we tweaked the doses a bit, so once those get filled and I regulate out… I’m hoping my day-to-day will be even better.  It’s really nice to be on meds that don’t have so many long-term effects on me and side effects, etc.

I’m seeing a couple new doctors, too – and they are really wonderful and very committed to helping me get the treatment I need, when I need it.  I’ve just recently opened up the lines of communication with my local in-town doctor, so the next time an attack happens – I can get into a hospital nearby and get the IV treatments that help me stop an early attack in its tracks.  And now the meds I need, should a serious attack occur, will be known and available (in Hawaii, this was pretty serious – they didn’t have ANY of these meds on the island before I got there… eeks!).

Coming from the military system to civilian world of medical care has been… well, halting.  The expense of my meds alone was enough to crank up my stress to attack-inducing levels.  Finding the right meds, that my insurance will cover, has been a task.  It was pretty crazy there for a little while, but things are looking up for me now.  It’s also been hard to piece together a communicative team of experts.  In the military system, all my docs could see each other’s notes, save for my primary care – they were all in the same building.  So the convenience factor has shifted a bit, it’s been a learning process, but it’s getting there.  I am happy with the team I have now, and I trust their expertise and compassion – very much so.

Otherwise, nothing really new or crazy or wild to report.

I’m still me.  I’m still human.  I try and live life just as me, weirdo wacky Rose… and not as a person afraid to experience life and deal with the affects on my body.  It’s a balance though.  And in every attack I experience, I wise up about my triggers and the lifestyle choices I need to, and should, make to avoid bringing issues upon myself.

So, there you go.

I still have Porphyria.  It’s not going anywhere!  But, everyday I think I get a little better at navigating what it means for me and coping with it all.  And umm, I’ll give a shout-out to my handsome life partner, Duggs (my husband) because he’s been an awesome man to have by my side through all of it.  My whole family is very supportive, and once again – I find myself feeling very blessed to have access to competent medical care.

so this is the most recent pic i could find... oh boy, not so flattering, haha.  but as you can see, i look normal and i'm outside and being wacky.  so, life is good!

so this is the most recent pic i could find… oh boy, not so flattering, haha. but as you can see, i look normal and i’m outside and being wacky, laughing, etc. can’t really ask for more than that… so, life is good!

 

Thanks for reading!  And thanks for following along the wacky and weird and up-and-down journey that is my health.

XOXO,

HHR – Happy Hippie Rose

PS: Just because I share what I go through, please don’t think that my porphyria is all I am or all that I focus on.  I’m a real, breathing, dynamic person.  And since my health is something people who know me worry about… and by being open and posting about it publicly I can help add to the available points of view out there on porphyria (since there aren’t many), reducing stigmas and encouraging others to talk about it, learn more, and so on… I do tend to mention it more often online than I probably do in real life.  But it’s just like anything that’s in a persons focus – real, but only one part of a whole, multifaceted life.  

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Black Lung Out, Insomnia In: A Lyrical Look At My Health These Days.

Howdy readers, pals, random web browsers who have stumbled here and have no clue of the incoherent weirdness with which you’re now facing head on!

So, last we chatted about my health I was going on and on about the mold issue in our home in Hawaii.  I’m happy, hell – ECSTATIC, to report that since leaving the home of the mold, I’m feeling much better.  Markedly, gloriously BETTER.  It’s amazing the difference, actually.  I think at first I was nervous to come right out and say it, out of fear that it would be short lived or something else.  But alas, it’s been a few months now and I just feel better all the time.  So, for me, the debate on the mold issue is settled: there was mos def something in that house that was crippling me, killing me softly.

Overall I feel great day to day.

I’m down on meds, at a very low level and in the process of a final taper.  Which given the past 18 months I’ve faced is quite incredible, honestly.  It feels amazing, I’m more than blessed to be writing from this vantage point right now.

I mean, clearly there’s no cure for Porphyria.  I’ll deal with that my whole life.  I’ve actually had one small flare since moving here – last month was a (ready? TMI is a-coming now…) right ovary month, and the cysts must still be there.  After a few months reprieve, last month was AWFUL.  Some of my close gal pals can attest, I was tethered to a heating pad and hunched over for several days.  It was so severe, it caught me off guard.  And of course in my domino reaction of a body – one thing can and will trigger something else.  Thus, the stress of acute pain sends me into a Porphyria-based decompensation (fancy way of saying “an attack”).  I carb/glucose loaded though and headed it off at the pass.

I’d like to thank my darling husband for his extreme attentiveness and ability to identify the early warning symptoms better than I can (honestly).  It’s what really helped us to keep things down to a little blip on the radar and not a colossal melt down.

So, the ovarian cysts.  That sucks, yes.   Not tragic though, so don’t cry for me Argentina.  It’s fine!   This month is business as usual and it seems as though Lefty-the-Other-Ovary is fully functional and normal.  To inquiring minds: fear not, I’ll seek the proper medical attention about all of this.  No more winging it, I promise.  But really, it doesn’t feel too urgent to be seen these days as  I’m basically fine.   Well.  Insomnia – that’s the only other ailment I really could mention.

The funny thing about Insomnia though, I don’t really hate it.  I’m a legit insomniac because I’m not ever tired.  I don’t drag all day, and at this point I’m consuming little-to-no caffeine.  I just don’t sleep.  It’s weird.  I always feel in the early hours of evening that I’ll be nice and sleepy come night time… and then, a flip switches and I just get that second wind.

the sunsetting over lake erie last weekend – as night comes on, i wake up.

Night time is a magical, quiet, intoxicating time.  I adore the sun and daylight, believe me.  But night is oh so nice too.

Last night I stayed up until about 5:30am today – at which time I rested for a couple hours.

Don’t scold me!  I know with the upcoming marathon this won’t do at all.  I know how paramount sleep is to proper recovery and healing, as well as overall health and injury prevention.  It’s not an every night, up all the time thing.  It just sometimes strikes me and that’s it- no sleep (’till Brooklyn).  I think it’s genetic.  I know my mother is a crazy night owl and often prone to Insomnia as well.  And my Dad, i don’t think he’s averaged more than four hours a night my entire life.  He just doesn’t sleep like the average person does.

Last night was one of those great nights to be alive.  After these hot, cloudless days – the crisp night air is an incredibly welcome change.  I actually ended up going for a nice long run around 1:30am.  It was gorgeous.  I love night running… the low moon hung huge, in a pretty golden crescent and the cool air felt awesome on my skin as I ran miles all over this sleepy rural town.  Afterwards I came home to a quite house, and I stretched and showered.   Still wide awake, a devilish idea struck and I found myself at Tim Horton’s moments later.   After a surprisingly good bagel breakfast sandwich I was able to feel sleep lapping at my body and mind.

drive thru, with my twenty pack giving me the eye

a very dark and kinda creepy, mostly terrible pic of me in the drive thru

thumbs up for getting the egg white version, thumbs down for bacon. oops!

Overall, I have no complaints!

When I was so consumed with the mold and it was taking over my body, I was sleeping SO MUCH.  Like, 16 hours a day kind of much.  Lethargic is an understatement.  Having energy and stamina now is a welcome blessing!  After the year and a half I’ve had, I’m very ready and willing to sweep the inconveniences under the rug and focus on the monumental improvement of which I feel.   And better I do feel – it’s amazing actually, liberating and nice.  It feels good to be awake, energized, and alive.

It’s been a long time coming.

FIN.

As always, thanks for reading!  xoxo, hhr  

It’s Fab Friday, Friends!

Good Morning Blog-o-sphere! (Did you enunciate that like RW a la “Good Morning Vietnam?” That was my intention, fyi, if you need a do-over).

HOWDY!

Happy Friday!

yawn. i accidentally stretched when i first tried to take a pic.

I’m just taking a quick break from my work morning to come say hi.  By the time I hit play on this though, it’ll be just about afternoon (I had to do work, what can I say?).

Guess what. I read some REALLY good blog posts today in case you’re interested:  Tamara Out Loud has an awesome post about Jesus and gays and love, Cult Fit talked about taking a break from fitness rambles to deal with real stuff in life, like the terrible wildfires in Colorado right now, and Amanda at Fancy Oatmeal cracked me up with the Jimmy Fallon video that she posted, oh man.  Good times!  Seriously though, about those wild fires: prayers up y’all!  Check out this site to buy some shirts to help out too.

It’s been a big week.  Duggs started his new job out in the civilian world.  He’s working with my cousin and uncle for Purina – YAY DUGGS! I’m so proud of you, and happy for you.  Congrats!  I’ve had a busy week- lots of working out and work, and being busy.  My mom is coming next week, ya know, for the 4th of July and MY BIRTHDAY, I think my cousins from NC may be coming too and possibly another aunt and uncle from DC?  I think it’s going to be a very fun week next week.  But to prep for a week o’ fun, there must be a week o’ grindstone.

Not to mention all the SCOTUS stuff.  If you ever want to hear my take on why Obamacare is amazing, just shoot me a message and we can chat.  I don’t like to get too soap-boxy here, but it should be of no secret to you, dear readers and pals, that I was ecstatic when I found out that healthcare was OK’ed via majority opinion.  Whew.  Sad about Stolen Valor, but hopeful that a new law with more specific language will replace it.

It’s been a crazy week.

All in all, I’ve been feeling great and doing well.  Huge change from Hawaii life.  Getting out of the moldy house of death has totally freed me from the bondage of sickness.  I feel like a whole new woman!

good morning, err good afternoon?

Otherwise…

  • my legs are still sore from Wednesday night’s speed work and plyo
  • I’ve been on a 90’s pop bender this week, Ace of Base and Spice Girls, what?
  • I’m excited that it’s warm out and my cousin’s putting his new-to-him boat in the water TODAY!
  • we’re going to a really fun fair this weekend and I can’t wait!
  • I’m excited for 4th of July
  • I’ve been drinking less soda, less coffee, and more water than usual – go me!

So, how’s your week been?  What do you have coming up this weekend?  Anything?

Thanks for stopping by, Happy Friday! Happy Summer! Happy almost a holiday!  I hope everyone had a rad week and that y’all are doing well.

rocky jumping on me, doh!

this is an autsin power’s joke. see, that 90s music got to me.

now here’s a napolean pose to keep me more updated. see, i’m cool, i’m hip… (see what i did there again?)

aaaaaand, jj cuddles

oh rocky, sweet boy!

And well, that’s all I got. So… TTFN, Ta Ta For Now!

xoxo, hhr

New York-ified

I think I’ve successfully New York-ified my blog.

The “about me” section is updated, and I’ve added some new pics to the header rotation, as well as to the sidebars (when you view from the home page; if you’re at the URL for a specific post, you won’t see the sidebar action).

I feel pretty good about things!  I’ll always reflect some Hawaii on my blog – how can I not? Hawaii is amazing.  But now my little corner of the Internet also represents the state and place we currently call home: Western New York!

Not sure if I’ll keep this “theme” forever, but I do still like it.  I’m all about keeping my blog nice and easy to read, clean and simple – all that.

So at least I’m up to date now – whew! At least one thing checked off my to-do list for today.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

Losing My Religion

“That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight … losing my religion.”  Great R.E.M. jam, right?  It’s totally how I feel today.

Friends of faith, calm down!  I’m not being literal, or rather – I’m not talking about my spiritual religion, Christianity.  My love of Jesus is as intact as ever.  It’s actually thriving I’d say: going through this huge move with so much uncertainty and loose ends, Duggs and I have been very laid back.  I’ve really been able to just hand the reigns over to God and trust that we’ll be fine, it’ll all work out in His time, and that He has my back.  He always does, so why worry now?

love this!

Of course, we’re doing all we can to work hard and set ourselves up for success – but fretting over things out of our control?  Not happening.  We’ve had faith and it’s been very comforting.

What I’m referring to is my religion of eco-friendliness.

Practicing my beliefs through the way I run a home, the purchases I make, the products I choose to surround myself with, put into the environment and my body… I’ve lost that “religion” big time.

I’ve been SO BAD.

Drive-throughs, food dye, nitrates, preservatives… you name it, I’ve been eating it this past month+. I’ve had more take out and delivery than you’d even think humanly possible.  My first week in New York I ate at Dunkin Donuts literally every single day.  (There aren’t any DDs in Hawaii, and I was dying for jelly donuts and pumpernickel bagels like woah).

be still my beating heart

It gets worse…  Much worse.

Hi. My name is Rose, and I’ve shopped at Walmart recently.

(Hi Rose).

Yeah, I need a Walmart Anonymous meeting or something to help me cope.

i’ve been here, and i’ve spent money. oy.

I’m downright ASHAMED that I’ve supported the giant corporation that I’ve been a sworn enemy of for years.  I mean, I belong to an anti-Walmart watchdog group that keeps tabs on all of the pollution-causing antics, third world sweatshop supporting practices and employee rights-squashing shenanigans that the big blue box condones (and usually tries to hide with price roll back smoke and mirrors).

what do all these products have in common? check the brand. sigh.

It still gets WORSE.

I’ve used paper towels.  Lots of them.

the devil’s mess vessel

(I’m basically in tears at this point.  Who am I? Where has the real Rose gone?).

I’ve drank coffee made in a Keurig.  Oh how I swore I never would.  But I did. In multiple homes on multiple occasions… and I liked it.  It’s delicious.  I even bought more K-cups to refill the ones I willfully consumed.

the set-up here at nick’s. it’s sinfully wasteful… and yet sinfully delicious.

look out landfills, mama’s thirsty!

And if we’re getting really honest – which we are, I’m confessing to quite a lot of eco-sins here – I’ve also used some chemically crazy cleaning agents.  A little bleach here, a little neon colored scented spray there.  SIGH.

oh the shame. i should have to turn in my friendship bracelets and bandanna. am i even a hippie anymore?

I mean, I have excuses – sure.  I’ve been a guest in the homes of others.  I’m trying to be polite and keep things simple.  I’m living out of suitcases (essentially), and for a while we were technically homeless.  Going with the flow, not making waves, and so on… but you know what they say: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I know I’m being hard on myself.  But there’s a certain level of conscientious living that I’ve strived for and I feel like I’ve just totally ignored all of my earthly beliefs lately.

Really though, there is some adjustment period to be expected.  I didn’t pack rags with us like I had intended to (I was so ill the day the movers came to our house in Hawaii, so many of my plans for what was to get packed/shipped and what was to come with us for immediate access went totally out the window – I’m lucky to have underwear and socks with me, it was that crazy, I was that ill).

So I’ve been bad and I know it. 

Duggs and I went more than a year with only buying a single roll of paper towels for our home (for doggie pee when we were dog sitting and other such “emergencies”).  We use cloth napkins, rags, and towels.

I had actually kicked my coffee habit to the curb and was drinking tea, usually only one caffeinated tea a day – the others decaf, herbal, etc.  And even if/when we made coffee, it was with a regular pot.  Many of my (dear beloved) pals have gone Keurig, and while the idea of making one cup at a time seems convenient and nice, the waste just seems inexcusable.  All that packaging! Ugh.  (And I know there’s the “my K-cup” thingy that’s reusable, but still… who uses those? It’s way more fun and easy to just buy the regular disposable K-cups).

And Walmart? Ha! I haven’t been in a walmart in years.  Actually, Duggs and I made ONE purchase there the entire time I lived in Hawaii.  And before that, I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d been in one.

I like to practice what I preach.   I sure try to anyways.  We all slip up, yes.  I know I’m not perfect, but I try and that’s been something I define myself by, a source of pride.

As an American I know I have power in my vote, sure.  But we all have a power that seems to carry even more impact: consumer power.  Where we spend our hard earned money speaks volumes.  By not buying products I consider wasteful or harmful, by not shopping at stores whose practices I’m not down with – I vote with my money.

I’m proud of the strides I’ve made in recent years. It seems like every year since ’07, my resolution has been “to be greener,” and every year I’ve made imporvements.

Buying and eating better food to not support farming practices I don’t agree with (factory farming is downright evil) and to be kinder to my body is one that I’ve worked on for years.  The amount of waste reduction in our home has been impressive.  Using less and less “disposable” items and more reusable stuffs – it’s better for the earth and it’s better for our pocketbooks.

Do you know how pricey paper towels and paper napkins are?  That junk adds up! Back in Hawaii, I cut up one old towel and made like 15 rags.  They work better than paper towels and you just wash ’em and voila, good to go.  Cloth napkins are nice too, they’re softer on your skin and again, save money, waste less, so on.  Making our own cleaning products is WAY better for the environment and much, much cheaper.  Those fancy products add up; but white distilled vinegar?  Blessedly affordable.

oh wdv, our love affair will never ever end!

My crunchy habits do save us money, which is great.

But more than that, I’ve been able to live a lifestyle I’m proud of, one that allows me to live out my beliefs.  

So without those habits I feel like I’m being untrue to my heart.  I’ve had that R.E.M. song stuck in my head for days, and I don’t think it’s coincidence.  My eco-religion is a little lost right now.

I’m not all evil these days, though.  I’m slowly getting back into my green hippie groove.   The jostle of moving and being on the road, going from place to place was unstable.  But now that we’re here at Nick’s and settled in, I’ve been getting back into a greener routine.  I know it won’t be long before I’m up to my old hippie tricks and living at a level that’s reasonable and good.

It’s just the lapse that happened during the in-between for which I feel guilty.

I had to confess, get it off my chest.  But that’s it, I’m wiping the slate clean and moving on.  While I’m not pleased with some of the wasteful ways I’ve taken up lately, and the whole Wamart thing (*shudders*) … I’m not going to beat myself up too much.  What’s the point?

I’ve recognized the problem, and that’s always the first step.  So now, it’s about moving on and regaining my crunchy cred.  I’ll post soon (tomorrow maybe?) about the greenie ways I’m getting back and the hippie practices I’ve never lost sight of.  There are so many little, easy ways to keep an eco-friendly home, save money and be nice to ourselves and our animals (chemicals kill, yo).

And at some point I should post about all the crunchy hippie habits of mine that save money.  You’d be amazed at how my gentle ways also go so easy on the wallet.  But that’ll be a long post, and I’ll need to think of all the things I do – I don’t want to leave anything out.

For today though, the confession feels nice.  It’s off my chest – so thanks for letting me do that.

As always, thanks for reading!  xoxo, hhr

Image Sources for the ones that aren’t mine:
Trust God image (it’s actually a teeshirt you can order, rad!)
Dunkin Donuts pic
Walmart storefront pic

JJ, the Happiest Pooch: Photo Post

Oh JJ is such a country pooch.  He’s loving it here!

bounding with the ball in his mouth, like a real dog who actually knows how to play fetch!

He’s been playing so much, and he has a friend to play with too.  Seeing him run around makes me so happy.  This has been a great move for us, yes.  But the fact that our little boy is enjoying himself so much too really makes me feel great about everything!

rocky and jj

So here’s a massive photo dump of our sweet little doggie having a blast.  I figured I was posting way too many pics as it was, so I’d at least make a separate post chock full of JJ pics.  Enjoy!

Oh, and if you notice another pooch… the chocolate lab about three times bigger than jay = his new bff, Rocky!  Rocky is Nick and Austin’s dog.  At first the two were enemies and didn’t like each other, we even had to get a muzzle for ole mean JJ because he was too snappy.  But after some sniffing and playing, they worked it out and now the two seem to be good pals, having fun running around together.  Whew!

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

P.S.

I drafted this post a couple days ago when I had some time, and I’ve since had more time to play with JJ outside.  This video is long (five minutes), but it’s of Duggs and me, playing with JJ and Rocky outside in the backyard.  It’s probably boring to everyone else, but they crack me up!!

In case the vid isn’t working, here’s the YouTube link.

I have it on Photobucket too: link, and this should embed it: http://static.photobucket.com/player.swf

Happy Mom’s Day, Catching Up, and Other Bloggy Stuffs

I know most of my posts have been about our big move.  It’s been pretty consuming.  Don’t think the ole wheels upstairs aren’t turning though!

After staying in so many different households over the past couple weeks, I’m excited to work on some posts about my happy hippie ways that have saved us money and helped to run our home in an eco-friendly way.  I’ve been passing on my tips to our gracious hosts along the way, and it made me think that I should do a post with a bunch of my household tips and tricks!  So that’s on my mind.   Of course I want to show off all the photos from the trip (from the nice camera, I haven’t posted any of those yet) and I want to show off Fredonia and what we’ve been up to here.

Oh, and the climate change has inspired me to keep track of my outfits.  Hehe… it’s not the same style that I could get away with in Hawaii.  So it’s been fun dressing in layers and changing my daily garb.  So there’s that too!

in pottersville on a dreary day- i’m wearing jeans, boots, and long sleeves. i can’t remember the last time i had all this on at the same time. it’s fun!

In good time, once I have more magical interwebs power I will post lots of fun and exciting happy hippie idears and posts (I know I always say that, but really I’ve been on the ball the past several days – Idk if it’s getting away from the moldy house or just moving in general, but man has my energy and motivation been coming back to me.  I’ve been incredible industrious since we’ve arrived in Fredonia – it’s outstanding!).

For now though, it’s great just to say hi!  I hope everyone is doing well.

To all the mothers out there, I hope y’all had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!! We spent the afternoon at my Aunt Patty’s house and had a lovely family dinner.  It was great.  I hope all the mommies out there spent time with your loved ones and were able to feel the love and appreciation that so many have for you!

aunt patty and nick, yesterday at dinner celebrating mother’s day and us being up here finally!

…I have to admit, it’s a holiday that’s a bit bittersweet for me… I can’t wait to be a mom someday and get to enjoy the celebration in a different way.  It’s certainly a day that made me wistful.

But I know things all happen for a reason, and that God’s got us covered.  So when the time is right, I know our family will grow.  And until then, I’m all about make the best of the millions of blessings we sure do have!  There’s a lot of exploring to do in our new home, so much to see and do, so many new places to check out.

Even though Mother’s Day made me a teensy bit sad, it’s a very exciting and happy time for us.  And sharing in that positive energy is so fun for me.  So keep your fingers crossed that we’re able to get some decent high speed and then I’ll be back up and running in full effect!

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

We’re Here, We made it to our New Home!

Hi everyone!

here i am, at my new “working station,” the breakfast nook of nick’s house

I know it’s been a few days since I’ve posted an update.  Things have been busy and we’ve been getting settled, of course – but the main reason I’ve been an absentee blogger is to do mostly with the Internet connection.  And the lack of a decent one here.

Turns out we’re a bit more off the beaten path than anticipated and getting a high speed set up has been a tough challenge so far.  We have a temporary solution (a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot), but it doesn’t get us very far and bigger files like photos and movies are painstakingly slow to move about, and usually end up getting dropped before completion.

posted this on instagram this past weekend – it’s a collage of our first weekend in fredonia. love it!

So, I wanted to jump in and say hi, even if I do it without all the bells and whistles of oodles of photos and all that jazz.

here’s the front view of nick’s house – it’s lovely!

We’ve been getting settled in, trying to get a feel for the area and see what all we got ourselves into.  The first couple days we were tired from all the traveling and feeling a bit overwhelmed at all we had to do.  But now that the anxiety of such a move has faded and reality is setting in, I’m just pleasantly surprised at how quickly I’ve acclimated, how comfy I already I am.

Our room is set up and we’re all unpacked.  We’re settled in and we’ve been able to visit with family in the area.  And, it’s lovely.  The weather has been perfect so far!  A pleasant change, I’m really loving it (even though my lips are all kinds of chapped).   My cousin Nick’s house is very comfortable and I really feel at home here already.  I’ve always gotten along well with Nicky, so I wasn’t worried about that.  But it’s just nice to now actually be here and to feel so at ease.

our room! i love it, it’s bright, clean, cozy and nice. it makes me happy to be all moved in.

Nick’s house is very nice.  He’s worked really hard to make all of this happen, and we’re just grateful to have such a great place to stay.  Not to mention that being with him, Austin and Rocky is just super fun!

nick’s kitchen, it’s plenty big and very nice

the breakfast nook, where i’m actually sitting right now. i love working here, it’s an awesome set up.

here’s a bigger shot of the living room (with sick duggs, aww)… i can and should take some better pics when the lighting is better and with the real camera, not the iphone.

the laundry room, aka: my dungeon! it’s only one part of the epic basement, and i already whipped into shape and got it all set up, organized, and ready to keep this family in clean clothes and linens. (i’m tellin ya, i’ve been on my a-game ever since we got here, it’s awesome).

I was sick, before we packed up in Hawaii… in the hotel in Hawaii, once we got to Long Island and then throughout our whole time in this state.  But now, just now, I’m FINALLY getting to feeling better.  And what happens?  Duggs gets my cold!  Gah.  Poor guy.  He went all this time being around me and my germs and it didn’t get him at all.  I guess it was bound to catch up to him at some point.  I hope he feels better asap.

duggs finally caught my cold, so he’s not feeling so great – on the couch with our little one

Other than Duggs having my cold, everything is just wonderful.  Moving here, so far, is feeling like the best thing ever.  I’m just loving it. It’s been a big change, no doubt.  But it feels like the world is our oyster now… we have so many choices on what to do!

I’ll tell ya the whole story…

My cousin Nick offered for us to come stay with him, in a small town – Fredonia – just outside of Buffalo, NY.  This area is interesting.  A lot of people wouldn’t see the appeal… but for me, I felt something calling me here.  My mom and her siblings grew up in Fredonia.  It’s that side of family’s “home base.”  Out Patriarch, my Great Uncle John, still lives here, as well as a mix of cousins, aunts, uncles, and other extended family.

The winter weather is intense.  Yes. I know.  I’m not sure how I’ll handle my first winter – but you never know until you try, right?

As for spring and summer, I couldn’t think of a more lovely place to live!  The festivals – there’s something going on every single weekend it seems, the weather, the hiking, camping, Lake Erie, Darian Lake (the amusement park, water park, with weekly concerts in the summer), being so close to the city (Buffalo has a lot going on ya know!) as well as the mountains, the countryside, the Finger Lakes, wine country, Canada, Niagra Falls… every which way there is so much to do.

Where we are now, at my cousin’s house, is a bit off the beaten path.  We’re surrounded by vineyards, it’s quiet and peaceful.  Just a couple minutes up the road though and it’s everything you need – grocery, gas, every fast food and chain restaurant, etc.   So for me, it’s a good way to get the best of many worlds.  A new place, a new climate, a new area to explore – the calm and quiet country life with a busy world not too far away.  Lots of family in the area, and just knowing my roots are here is neat.  Matthew’s family is nearby too, and now my sister is as well.  If we want stuff to do, we just have to look around.

And come winter, even though it’ll be cold and snowy – there’s so much to do!  Sledding, skiing, ice fishing, snow mobiling, hunting, etc.  We chose this area because all year round there’s a lot to do outdoors.  Chautauqua County is an interesting place, full of its own culture and color, and we’re excited to learn more about this place.  Besides, if you’re going to live where it gets cold, you may as well live where there’s enough snow to have fun with it, right?  (that’s what we’re telling ourselves anyways!)

So, we’re here!

It’ll still be a little while before all the details are taken care of and we have our whole lives set in stone and mapped out.  Our car and all of our household goods are in transit, we’re not sure how long we’ll live with Nick, etc.  But for now, for our first week here – things couldn’t be any better.

Thanks for following along with the journey and for all the nice and supportive comments and emails I’ve gotten.  It means so much!

Later this week I’ll put up a HUGE photo post – with all the nice and fancy pics we’ve taken here with the good camera.  It’ll be nice and you’ll be able to get an even better idea of what I’m talking about in regards to the area and all that.

At least now you have an idea of where I am and what our new life is starting to look like.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

 

The Last Leg of Our Roadtrip, to Buffalo We Go!

Hey there readers!  It’s your favorite Northern Newbie, posting a bit to say hey!

check out my new raincoat. i’m so northern, right? i so fit in. i just know it.

I last posted about Camp Curtis and the wonderful relaxing time we had in scenic Pottersville, visiting my sister and her boyfriend Jared, where his family graciously hosted us at their lake house.

saying goodbye, our last couple minutes at camp curtis – here’s roger by the fire on a rainy day

We had a great time indeed.  After we packed up and hit the road though, it was time to bring this show on down.  The whole point of our “road trip” across New York was moving, so as much as visiting was nice – we had to get to the moving part of the exercise. So we were off!

saying bye to my beautiful sister, i miss her already!

me, taking more pics of myself while duggs is telling me to get my crap in the car so we can go, go, go! (oops).

hey there aj, lookin’ good!

about to hit the road

My husband, Duggs, is now (happily! blissfully! excitedly!) a civilian, and has just gotten out of the USMC.  After dutifully serving a contract, we decided that we wanted to give life outside of the military a go.  So we sadly left gorgeous Hawaii and have embarked on a new life.

The military flew us to Matthew’s “home of record,” New York City (since he’s from Long Island).  And rather than pay all the extra money to add on a flight to Buffalo, we decided to take the chance to go visit family and take our time.  So we rented a car (an amazing, luxurious SUV – a Buick Enclave, a vehicle I would do anything to actually own, it’s the nicest ride I’ve ever been in, seriously!  except that I’m a hippie and I’m morally opposed to such massive gas guzzlers, of course)… so we rented a car and went to visit family.  First my husband’s people, all across Long Island.  Then my sister, who happened to have just moved to Upstate NY, outside of Albany.

From here, we had one last journey – about six hours of driving west to lovely Fredonia, NY – our new home.  So we hit the highway, and made our merry way to start a new chapter of our happy hippie lives.

i love the scenery of upstate new york!

we saw a lot of this on the six hour drive

and a lot of this too. pretty, but dreary too!

the sun setting over I-90

Duggs and I really had a nice time in the car together.  Books on tape, podcasts, music and chit chat passed the time nicely.  Not to mention all the scenery and the Dunkin Donuts stops (of course).

oh cute pooch, all snuggled down and being a good boy on the ride. finally, he chilled out and learned how to snooze in the car.

duggs at the wheel, off to buffalo we go!

i’m hanging out the passenger side of my best friend’s ride

So this was the last part of our “road trip,” with the destination being our new home! I’m actually here now, and we’ve spent the last five or so days getting moved in, settled in and what not.  I know I have a lot of posts to catch up on, pics to share and all that – so this week will be my catch-up week, with posts everyday from our new home and backtracking with photo posts from the road trip and our time visiting friends and family in New York.

Mostly I can say, life is good!  Hope to see y’all around this week and I hope to get into a good groove of writing now that we’re in one spot and plan to be here for quite some time.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

 

HNL to JFK, Road Trip, Reunions, and So On…

We don’t live in Hawaii anymore.  It’s so crazy to realize that, but in another way – it feels like it’s been forever since I was in Hawaii.  I know it’s hardly been a week since we left, but the sounds of luau music and the taste of pineapple with li hing feel like super distant memories.  It’s weird how time can mess with you like that!

We finally left Hawaii on the evening of May 1st.  Getting all of our luggage, the pooch and ourselves to the airport was comedic at best.

the shuttle from the hotel to the airport. yeah, we literally filled the whole thing

arriving at the honolulu airport – so much stuff, yikes!

It took so long to do all the checking in and inspections that we were literally the last ones to run aboard the plane just moments before take-off.  American Airlines was actually great, they only charged us $175 for JJ – and if you’ve been following all of the controversy and price changes for animals accompaniment fare, you know this is a screaming good deal!

checking the pooch into american airlines

I was so sad to say bye to JJ.  I was so worried about my pooch being on the plane, all by himself.  He’s meek and scared of everything as it is.  I knew the poor little guy was just going to be terrified the whole time.  I slept with a blanket for a week out, so it would really smell like me.  We had his favorite pals, Hippo and Bonky in there with him, along with a new doggie bed a couple pillows he likes.

saying good bye to the pooch before we boarded the plane in hawaii

Then it was go time!

self-port in the plane lavatory, hahah. i’m shameless.

duggs and me, on the plane – good bye hawaii and hello new adventure!

We made a quick stop in LAX (and hey! Cali friends, don’t worry, we hardly had more than a few minutes to sit at the gate and then we were off again – if I ever have enough time to hang out during a layover I make sure to let folks know, and this was NOT one of those time).  Then on to JFK in New York City it was!  Jayjers seems to have done well enough, because when we picked him up in the NY airport he was his happy, excited, adorable self!

i look so tired after flying all night – but i’m super happy to be reunited with my sweet boy!

rounding up all of our crap in the jfk baggage claim

We landed in the mid-afternoon of May 2nd.  Between the flight lengths and the time change it really takes about a full day to go from Hawaii to the East Coast.  Then the nest adventure was rounding up the luggage (all zillion pieces of it… seven checked, 3 carry ons and a pooch, to be exact) and get the rental car checked out and on the road.

The first stop was Miss Alices, or Mom’s – my Mother-in-Law’s place in Long Beach, Long Island.

miss alice, outside of her home in long beach, long island, ny.

We stayed at Miss Alice’s house for three nights!  We were able to catch up with her, Matthew got to see BOTH of his brothers and we just all had an awesome time.  We got to relax, shoot the breeze, and it was just lovely all around.  MIss Alice treated us to some amazing home-cooked meals and we just lived it up, relaxing and taking it all in!

stephen, matthew’s brother holds jj

Matthew and I did some shopping (we made some awesome use out of some leftover gift cards from Christmas).

duggs driving me to the mall for some shopping!

yo, i’m at the mall. so what about it?

oh hay duggs, how does it feel to be back home?

It’s been a little colder here than we expected – but the change of pace has felt AMAZING. I love it!  We packed for a slightly warmer season, so while at the mall we did grab a couple more sweaters.  And Miss Alice gifted me some layering stuff and sweaters too.  Surprisingly, I’ve done well with the climate change and haven’t felt “cold” at all.  I’ve just really liked it!   One thing I have had to get used to – having to wear real clothes.  In Hawaii, I dressed sooooo casually, flip flops (slippahs) and sundresses all the time!  Not to mention I work from home, so I hardly get all dolled up.  In the NYC-area, it’s a different story.  You can’t go running errands looking like a slouch.  So I’ve had a fun time wearing “real” clothes.  It feels good!

A few of Matthew’s pals hosted a really sweet gathering for us and we were able to catch up with a lot of friends.  It was so rad!

duggs and me, from the night we hung out with everyone

We had a great night hanging out with everyone.  I was too busy gabbing (go figure!) to take many pics… ugh.  I promise that once we go through the real camera and upload pics, I’ll include whatever ones we have from that night.  It was a blast seeing Christian and Lauren, their little baby Griffin, Lauren’s parents were such a delight!  And then so many friends came over to say hi!  We got to see Brian and Rachel, Nick and Liz, my friend Marissa met up with us too, Christian’s brother Shawn, and then we were there – it was such a cool night!  (I really really hope I didn’t forget anyone).

To everyone who came and hung out – thank you so much!  It was so rad to see everyone.

miss alice, during the road trip out to the east end of the island

the view driving near nanny and grandparent’s house out in amagansett, long island

me and the sweet pooch on the road, loving it!

Before we went to the actual house, we stopped by the beach in Amagansett and I was able to lay eyes on the Atlantic Ocean once again.  After living in and around the Pacific the past couple years, and getting used to its warm waters and bright blue electric colors – it was nice to see my tried and true gray Atlantic.  Something about the murky and cold water just feels comforting to me, out of familiarity, out of the hours and hours I’ve spent in it and on it… as gorgeous as the Pacific is, the Atlantic will always be home to me!

the ocean!

the house in amagansett – it’s a beautiful beach home that duggs and his fam have all gathered at for years.

We spent a night with Matthew’s grandparents, his mom, his brother Johnny and his Uncle Joe all out at the beach house in Amagansett.  Uncle Joe had his lovely doggie Kola with him, and seeing Jay and Kola interact was fun and cute.  The time out at the beach house was very relaxing.  It’s so quiet out there, it was really nice.

I woke up the morning we were to head out that way with a dreadful sore throat.  I was so worried about getting everyone sick, but it’s been way too long since we’ve seen everyone.  So long as they were okay with me and my germs, I was more than happy to suck it up and make the trip anyways!

Here’s where I’m a heel: the vast majority of the picks we took were on the good camera and I haven’t even started to upload and sort through those.  The only ones I have are my random iPhone snap shots.  So I’ll have to go back and post much better pics from this trip when I have some real time to do a nice job.  On my phone, I hardly got any family pics – just some weird snaps here and there.

 

johnny is the biker of the fam, he looks like jax from sons of anarchy!

duggs and i got to sleep lucy and dezi style in twin beds, hehe! it was so nice and quiet there, we were able to get some great sleep.

check out this old school image of super duper hottie hubby back in the day!

Grandpa cooked us a lovely meal of salmon and rice, Nanny served a light and a delicious   key lime pie.  The whole family was able to catch up, chit chat and relax.  I know Matthew was just so happy to get to see his family – for him it had been about two years since he’d seen anyone!

The single night spent out there came and went too soon, and before I knew it we were on the road again… time to head back to Long Beach and drop off Miss Alice (my mother-in-law) and then pack up and head out to Pottersville.

Next up: a blog about our time at Camp Curtis on Valentine Pond, in Pottersville, NY.   Our road trip will continue and we’ll keep going and visiting more fam and friends.

the road trip route: JFK to long island, going all across the whole island and then back to the city, up toward and past albany and then on to buffalo! pretty sweet way to criss cross the state, huh?

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr