Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cystic Fibrosis- My heart hurts

I don't know how to begin this.

My heart hurts.  Tonight I stood in the shower and just cried and cried.  I don't want to lose my best friend.  This world makes me really sad.  Why do bombings happen?  Why do school shootings happen?  Why are there terminal illnesses?  Why do 3 year old sweet precious darlings get diagnosed with terrible diseases for which there are no cure?

When I was in the tenth grade, I met the funniest girl.  She had a really high ponytail of bouncy curls, was the field hockey manager where I had held that position the year prior.  She was the happiest person I had ever met, and was more quick-witted than anyone I had ever spoken with.  She had an infectious laugh and anyone who talked to her was her best friend within five minutes.  She was smart as a whip, no class or subject could stump this girl.  With no time, somehow some way, this girl became by best friend.  Through high school and some ridiculous boy situations, girl drama and absurd drives (we thought it was a good idea to get a job 30 minutes away tutoring math because it would look good for college?)- we were inseparable.  College came and we stayed best friends.  A few times a year she has gotten really sick, and nothing scares me more.  I cannot imagine my life without her by my side.  She is my heart and soul.  We used to SCREAM a Relient K song in my terrible old baby blue Saturn with the sunroof down 
"We should get jerseys cause we make a good team
But yours would look better than mine, cause you're outta my league
And I know that it's so cliche to tell you that everyday
I spend with you is the new best day of my life
Everyone watching us just turns away with disgust
It's Jealously, they can see that we've got it going on"

She is my soulmate, my true best friend, till death to us part.  I love my fiancé with all that I am, but she knows me better than anyone ever has or will.  She has known me through some terrible high school phases, through college identity crises, through depression and medical problems.  We know one anothers' family problems and true selves.  She's the reason for the name of my blog.  The reason I fought through the hardest year of my life at the hardest job I could have imagined.  The reason I could never quit anything.  The reason I believe in inner strength- fortaleza interior, innere Stärke.   

My best friend has cystic fibrosis.  This is a terminal illness that has no cure.  The average lifespan for a person with cystic fibrosis is 37 years.  Nobody wants to think that their best friend is only going to be 37.  But my best friend is a fighter.  Every time her doctors have given her an estimate of her lifespan, she has laughed and far surpassed it.  She would only live to 3? Nope.  6? Ha.  10? Not her.  16?  Yeah right, this genius wants a Ph. D.  She kicked college's booty and is now in a Ph.D program.  So there.  

CF is a terrible, horrible, no good very bad illness.  It causes a buildup of abnormally thick mucus in the lungs, digestive tract and other parts of the body. CF impacts the lungs and the digestive system.  People with CF have a lot of trouble with coughing and breathing, and are highly susceptible to infections.  With regard to the digestive problems, CF makes it so patients can't absorb the nutrients they need from the food they eat- so people with CF have to take medicine to be able to grow or gain weight.  CF causes thick mucus in the respiratory tract, so people with CF often have a chronic cough, nasal problems, lung infections, etc.  As the chronic infections increase, in addition to the mucus building up within the lungs, lung function decreases.

Someone with CF fights a daily battle.  They have to take medicine every time they eat to help absorb the nutrients from the food.  They have to do morning and nighttime treatments to shake their lungs and loosen the mucus.  This takes hours a day out of daily life.  

But I have n e v e r heard my best friend complain.  She is the strongest, most happy, beautiful, loving, wonderful person I know. You would never believe this disease is attacking her body.  She does not let it define her, and I do not want to let it take her.  

She is the maid of honor in my wedding, and I could not be more honored.

Tonight my mom told me that a sweet little girl from my church at home in Maryland recently found out that she, too, has cystic fibrosis.  My heart is crushed.  Nobody should have to fight this battle.  
Her mother made this wonderful video, and I encourage you to set aside a few minutes and tissues (you will need them.  You won't leave dry eyed) to watch it.  

There has to be a cure.  Please join me to find it.  For Chrissy and Susannah, and for the thousands of others who should not have to suffer.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an amazing organization.  When they were founded in 1955, kids with CFF rarely survived elementary school.  Now, with large thanks to their HUGE fundraising efforts and efforts to find a cure, patients with CF often live to their 30's, 40's and beyond.  They provide the only funding for CF research.  

In 2012, the CF foundation raised almost $40 million for research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.  But they need your help.  Please,  look and find a Great Strides walk or event near you and participate.  

We will beat this!

Did your momma teach you nothing?

[Disclaimer:  As I read over this after I posted, I realized I came off kind of cranky.  I just wanted to put some etiquette out there.  Plus traveling makes me cranky and I wish people were more respectful :)  I promise I'm quite friendly and a really happy person! Ok, read on :)]

I was raised in Maryland.  Not the dirty dirty south, not the frigid north.  Not the chill west coast.  Not 'eh up in Canada. Not the midwest.  Just Maryland.  I was raised with a lot of rules though.  My parents taught me to respect other people and myself, that etiquette matters.  I was always taught to be kinder than is necessary, for everyone is fighting a hard battle and you just never know what other people are going through.  My daddy loves with his whole heart, and gives his all in everything he does.  That's something he's instilled in me, and I've always held true.  I have a ridiculous amount of Maryland pride- that red gold and black flag is just too beautiful for words.  Rather than this becoming a tangent about Maryland (I promise I have a point here)- I wanted to discuss modern etiquette with y'all.

In college a dear friend of mine, Anna, and I found a blog that was just etiquette question and answers. Y'all.  We gobbled that thing up.  I mean.  We devoured it.  Read that entire thing in a matter of weeks. It was this right here: EtiquetteGrrls and although I do not love that little grammar/text lingo part of their name, I do love those ladies.

For high school graduation, so many of my mom's friends gave me old Bridal, Ann Landers and Martha Steward, among others, etiquette books.  Such wonderful coffee table books, and I still to this day read those frequently.  Etiquette is timeless, and it never hurts to be in good form.

So I just cannot fathom why some people have zero manners or respect.  Zilch.  Nada.  Why do you deliberately disrespect those around you?  As a classroom teacher to middle schoolers, my number one rule for my students is that they respect one another, their environments and themselves.  Why do people not respect those around them?  The disrespect I see out in public, particularly when I have been traveling lately- is absolutely APPALLING.  I wanted to share some of the top offenses I have seen.  Please feel free to add to my list!

1.  Cell Phones

  • Talking in public- "Oh my GOD Charlotte!  He did NOT call you that!  He said WHAT to your mother! LET ME TELL YOU THIS!" .... Well sweet girl let ME tell you... You and your sweet friend might care, and bless y'alls hearts but the rest of us certainly do not care that much.  And as happy as I am that you are talking with your friend, it is not necessary to be SCREAMING in a closed-in plane, or while we're standing in line, or while you are in a tight public space.  There are PLENTY of less obnoxious places to talk on your cell phone- walk away from the group.  Text your friend.  Walk to the back of the store and speak MORE QUIETLY. 
  • Ringtones and key tapping If you are in public or with other people- be it sitting on the couch chatting with a group of friends or just one friend, sitting in the break room talking to your coworkers, sitting on the airplane waiting to board, shopping at the mall and waiting in line to check out- and you have your phone on loud so you can here.  Fine.  Dandy.  Let it ring.  But the MOMENT you engage in a constant text conversation with dear Aunt Ginger who is a texting fiend and texts back every 2.73 seconds and you too are responding instantaneously so that your phone is ringing every 30 seconds- BE POLITE and cut that ringtone off!  We don't need to hear that Blackberry boo-doop or that signature Apple chirp every 30 seconds.  Nor do we need to hear every click as you hit the keyboard on that touchtone.  Slide that button on the side and turn it on vibrate as you have your texting conversation.  Turn it back up when you're done so you don't miss a call.  Please. 

2.  Smacking your gum/clicking mints - My friend Samantha has informed me that this is actually a medical condition to be as bothered as I am when people rudely CHOMP their gum and smack their food around [misophonia].  But honestly.  Did Momma not tell you to chew with your mouth closed, do not talk with your mouth full, and do NOT for the love of GOD ever blow a bubble or pop your gum if you have any self respect?   Good golly and when people open their mouth and click-clack their mints or hard candy against their teeth I want to smack them.  Blech.  So gross.  

3.  Bringing smelly food in a (small)public place- Again.  Back to respecting the space you share with other people.  If you are about to be in a VERY small place with VERY many people for what will feel like a VERY long time, like an airplane...  Think about what you would want to be up close and personal in your space.  If there's something you would not want near you or have to smell, then you can almost certainly guarantee that other people share that feeling.  If as you get your carryout food from the food court at the airport you are overwhelmed by the strong fragrance (and it is ethnic, or pizza, or Subway- or anything with a strong pungent fragrance) please eat it before you board (or before you enter that board meeting with 20 people crowded around that tight table)!  It is respectful.  Plus think about how it feels when you have food trash in front of you after a meal.  Do you really want to subject 100 other people to that for the next three hours?  No thank you. 

4.  Too.  Much.  Perfume. - UG.  Personal pet PEEVE.  This is so rude.  But also something I completely understand and just really wish people would think about.  Scents are really a personal thing and something that can be really wonderful to one person and also really offensive to another.  That new perfume you just absolutely love may make Mary Sue feel absolutely sick.  When Margaret simply feels ill from anything floral, Sherry loves floral but cannot stand musky scents.  That means-  wear enough that YOU and YOURS can smell it when they get close. Not enough that you and everyone within the mall with you knows that you sprayed 16 sprays, then jumped danced and twirled while singing Tayor Swift through the mist in the bathroom.  

5.  Too Much Luggage-

A few months ago I tweeted that I sincerely believe that the same people who board a plane at the last second with two large carry-ons and are pissed about no room are the exact same individuals who speed down the shoulder during dead-stopped traffic and cut into the line at the last second.  It's the most retweets and favorites I've ever had on a single tweet.  

Every single airline is extremely explicit.  You may have ONE carry on and ONE small additional bag, like a purse or laptop.  That means one small rolling bag, ore one small duffel, or one tote, and a purse or a laptop bag.  That does NOT mean that all of these jerks out here get to carry on two rolling suitcases and not pay to check a bag like the rest of us.  And for the LIFE of me, since Delta and American Airlines and the rest of them are such sticklers with everything else- I don't get why they don't stop these fools.  But every time I fly (which is quite a lot) I see these jerks with their two huge bags, plus a shopping bag or seven, and their purse, and their laptop bag, and their screaming toddler, and their bag of food.  

Two large roll ons, a duffle, a tote, a purse, a laptop case, and your 4 duty-free shopping bags is NOT the same as one carry-on and a small purse or additional bag.  Show some R-E-S-P-E-C-T people!  

This princess was on my recent flight from San Antonio (plus homegirl had a big Vera Bradley tote bag, and the largest size Longchamp bag, plus a laptop case.  REALLY?!?). The thing these people don't consider is when THEY take two huge bags- they just think they are cheating the system but they are also cheating their fellow passengers out of precious cargo space.  Homegirl had to put all 17 of her things up top, which meant 4 other people could not put theirs up top... Get it?  It's just rude and inconsiderate.  Think about other people for once!

Ok.  Rant over.  What etiquette do you think is necessary?
What rules do you hate when people break?

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

30 Pounds in 60 Days

I posted here about not stressing about this wedding...about not taking this too seriously...about not wanting this to be a performance... about wanting this to be a celebration of our love and not some big show.

Fiancé moved to Memphis with me in October.  Meaning no more me working out after work, hardly eating at all (I am naturally the lightest eater ever, added in with living alone= I hardly ever at at all... I was at one of my lowest weights...lucky me!).... Him moving in meant regular grocery shopping, cooking nightly meals, date nights at restaurants all the time... In addition to me having spent the summer living at home with him and my momma's cooking all summer... I have put on 30 pounds since last spring.  My word, holy smokes, no bueno!

One of my good friends is an exercise buff and he is going to help me try and get back in shape so I feel my absolute best for this wedding.  Not for anyone else, but for me.  I want to look back on these pictures and know that I felt beautiful, that I was the bride I wanted to be, that I truly felt like Chris' princess.

He has created an entire meal and fitness plan for me for the next eight weeks leading up to my wedding (eight weeks! AH!  I cannot wait to be Mrs. R!  SO EXCITING!!!)  It is going to be intense, twice a day workouts.  But state tests for my kids are next week, and then my school year completely winds down.  My fiancé works on weekends now, and I am excited for the challenge.

Here's the workout if anyone is interested- it's intense but should be a great challenge!!!