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Back to School!

By on Sep 2, 2016 in Personal

It is that time of year again…the time that the kids have been dreading. Goodbye summer vacation, hello school year. It really isn’t so bad. The little ones are mostly bummed about bedtime. During the summer (and weekends) they are allowed to stay up until 10pm and they get to take their tablets to bed. On school nights though, they have to hand over their tablets and get in bed at their bedtime (8pm and 9pm for the two littles). I am looking forward to a good year. This year they are in 9th grade, 3rd grade, and 1st grade. I’m not sure where the time went…but it definitely flew by while I was not looking. My oldest is going to an aerospace and advanced technologies academy. This semester she is taking Aerospace Engineering, Honors Math I, Seminar (which is a blend of Language Arts and other things like life skills) and Computer Programming I (Python). She is...

The Road to Recovery

By on Aug 22, 2016 in Personal

The concert was a success…a surprising success given how sick I was. But, the next day was a major struggle. I was back to getting sick when I sat up. I found myself jealous of anyone who could sit, stand or walk. I mobilized my office with a combination of laptops and tablets. I was able to work from a half reclined position. I started getting caught up on the work I missed during both vacation and my hospitalization. The following day was probably the worst of all. I couldn’t seem to keep my meds down. I started to feel like my body was just to the point where it was done with medications. Thankfully I was coming to the end of most of the regimens. I was so ready to get back to normal. I wanted to just get up and walk around. But, we don’t always get what we want, do we?! Friday was better…in fact, Friday was much better. I was able to get up and move around a...

Welcome to the Mark, Travis and Matt show!

By on Aug 16, 2016 in Personal

I spent the entire day working up the energy to make it to this show. This wasn’t just some random concert. If you don’t know me, maybe you have no idea how much I love Blink-182. They have been my favorite band since 1997 and I don’t get many chances to see them play live (because it seems like they so rarely tour in the US). But a few months ago, they announced a tour with their new album. I bought my tickets the minute that presale started. I splurged for 4 front row VIP tickets. I was not going to let some illness stand between my favorite trio and me. I spent the day working on being able to sit up without getting sick. Eventually I was able to get myself up and ready. I was moving slowly, but at least I was moving. The concert was awesome. We got to hang out with the band during sound check. Mark was really chatty – answering questions and telling stories....

And off to the hospital…

By on Aug 15, 2016 in Personal

Illness has absolutely no respect for schedules. So rude. I got home from vacation on Sunday. I was already pretty miserably sick. I was in one of the worst UC flares (maybe the absolute worst), I was sick with what we assumed was strep throat and then I developed some sort of abscess on the back of my tongue, right where it touches my wisdom teeth. I felt like I was just falling apart. I tried to sleep it off. I was on antibiotics and figured that I’d be feeling better in a few hours. Instead, I was feeling worse…much worse. The next day I gave in and went to the ER. By this point I had lost so much blood that I was more anemic than ever. So naturally they admitted me. It took some convincing and a call to my doctor at Duke to keep them from transferring me. I prefer Duke but it is so far and none of this seemed to be liver-related (which he agreed) so it was just much...

Day Seven – Homebound

By on Aug 7, 2016 in Great American Road Trip, Personal

This is where things start to go from bad to worse with my health. When I woke up in the morning, I noticed immediately that my throat was hurting much more than it was when I went to bed. The eternal optimist, I hoped that maybe I had just slept with my mouth open and it would feel better soon. But…it didn’t. In fact, it just kept getting worse and worse. I ended up doing a virtual doctor’s visit so I had antibiotics waiting for me at the pharmacy when I got back into town. Until then, I just had to try my hardest to ignore the pain. Aside from being sick, the drive home wasn’t terrible. It was a long drive but I got through it. I took my first dose of antibiotics and went straight to bed when I got home. As time passed, I kept feeling worse and worse. At this point, my stomach was all tied up in knots, my throat was hurting and getting worse by the minute. I...

Day Six – The Island

By on Aug 6, 2016 in Great American Road Trip, Personal

Plans are made to be changed – we all know this is true. Our original plan for this day was to go to Dollywood. But it was hot. It was very, very hot. Never mind the fact that I’m still very sick and using my “bandaid” plan. Not much sounded worse than walking around an amusement park in the upper 90’s (with a real feel in the 100’s). It just didn’t sound like fun. So we decided to change our plans. We had grabbed some brochures from the hotel lobby when we checked in so we decided to look through there to see what we would do. It didn’t take long for us to decide on The Island. We actually found a huge list of things to do but there was no way to fit it all into one day so we are already planning our next visit. So, to The Island! This place was awesome. There was so much to do here that we all had a blast. We made our way through the...

Day 5 – Pigeon Forge

By on Aug 5, 2016 in Great American Road Trip, Personal

Back on the road we go! Thinking back on how much time we spent in the car, I must admit that the kids handled it very well. Thanks to their electronic devices and other toys to keep them occupied, we didn’t hear a lot of “are we there yet” whines. Luckily for them, we weren’t going too far this time. As we passed through Nashville, I thought about how awesome it would be to catch an open mic night at the Bluebird Cafe or to go to a show at the Opry. I tucked that idea away for a time when I’m traveling to Nashville without the kids in tow. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be too thrilled with either of those ideas. As we got closer to Pigeon Forge, Waze directed us through small, windy mountain roads. This was my first time visiting here and I thought it was strange that such a destination wouldn’t have an easier way in and out of town....

Day Six – Ft. Campbell Bound

By on Aug 4, 2016 in Great American Road Trip, Personal

This day started out bittersweet. We were excited to push on to the next part of our great adventure but it is always sad saying goodbye to family especially when they live so far away. We loaded up the car with our suitcases and all of the new toys the kids had collected from museum gift shops. All of their electronics were charged up over night and their DVD player was set up and ready to go. After saying our goodbyes, we got back on the road. The kids watched as the high rise buildings disappeared behind us and the road opened up ahead of us. We had a pretty uneventful drive from St. Louis to Ft. Campbell. It was a trip I remember well from my childhood. We drove around to see how much had changed and what had stayed the same. Aside from a quick stop in Clarksville a few years ago, I hadn’t really set foot in that town since the Gulf War. This was a planned stop on our trip...