What it’s like

As most of my readers know, I was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Matthew the weekend of October 8th, 2016. I didn’t quite realize what a roller coaster the last month would be. It was devastating enough watching the water seep into my home, but what would happen over the span of the next 30 days was both shocking and amazing.

 I lost my car, insurance totalled her out and II was given a rental car til I found my replacement car. I was able to purchase another vehicle outright  with the insurance money so I still have no car payment!! I was very leary of the process of finding another car. I loved mine, had just replaced all 4 tires, she was in great shape  and well maintained.


My 2004 Toyota Camry

The 2016 Toyota Camry (my rental)

The changing of the guard, Returning the rental and beginning new adventures in Honda-land.

My new ride, older but still full of bells and whistles. 2002 Honda Accord. We are becoming great friendsūüôā

 I was put up in two different hotels by my leasing office, one in Chesapeake (which was a total shit hole) and then transferred to a beautiful oceanfront hotel with a balcony and oceanside view.

It was a great lil between spot before getting my new place. 

I got to explore the oceanfront area a bit and discovered a local treasure I was previously unaware of, the Abbey Road restaurant. It’s a Beatles themed spot (I am a huge fan) with so much to look at and take in, more than one trip is a must!! The food could taste like shit and I would still go. Granted, it did not! I took my son with me and while he wasn’t as enthusiastic as I was, I know he still had a good time. We took a little time to walk around and take in some of the scenery before leaving. 

I had a blast!!

I went searching for places to call home and considered moving in with a dear friends and her girls when in reality we all knew I couldn’t do that. I need my space and roomies are not for me. I spun off on my own and found a cute lil place not far from where I was. It’s smaller but it’s been completely renovated, all new everything! 

I believe everything happens for a reason. Losing my apartment and most of what I own has taught me a few things.

I was a huge collector  of things, books, lighthouses, Nightmare Before Christmas, and yes, Minions. All of those things are gone. Wasted money that I will never get back. It’s cool to admire things but more importantly, invest in time spent with the people that mean something to you. My school/work community has come together in a HUGE way to support me in rebuilding my life and my family after the storm. I never expected the outpouring of help. They have been bringing me dinner or giving me gift cards for dinner and I haven’t had to cook in my new place since I’ve been here. Someone gave up an entire bedroom suite, bedframe, 2 nightstands, dresser with mirror, chest of drawers, and a hope chest, all solid wood to help me out. My daughter got a new bed from a co-worker to replace her damaged one along with linens and things. Same family provided a bookshelf that I use for an entertainment center, its actually pretty cool that way, a coffee table, another bed frame, etc. An office associate and PTA members set me up with a ton of kitchen items. There was a collection of donations set up for me with which I used to replace my mattress set and a few other small things.There’s so much I could take days listing it all. It’s been amazing and unbelievable that all of these people stepped in a helped in such a huge way. I am completely humbled by the generosity of my work family. Family is most definitely what we are  and I will NEVER forget it. You see, while I had renter’s insurance, flood was not covered. All of my personal property that was soaked was lost and now with the discovery of asbestos, I won’t be able to claim much of what I salvaged from the water. Irreplaceable things like both of my kid baby books are left behind. I am still haunted by this whole situation. I have good days, great days, and some prettt bad ones. I get upset when I go to look  for something I had, for instance, a jacket, dress, shoes (3 beautiful pairs of boots) and realize it’s not here because it’s sealed into my asbestos contained apartment.

It has been heartbreaking knowing all of those things I worked hard for are gone. I still cry some days when I think about it. It’s been a little over a month since the storm. I never would have imagined my life would take this turn but again, I believe that everything happens for a reason. How long would I have been there before asbestos was discovered? I had only moved in there in August. I never would have realized exactly how blessed I am to be a part of my school which I have always been proud of but now even more so.

Most importantly, I realized who is really there for me and who comes around only for what they can get put of me. Message recieved loud and clear. I am done with “fair-weather friends”. Time is precious and I’m going to choose to spend mine  with those that count. 

In a nutshell, things are coming together slowly and I am genuinely happy. There’s always room for change, that’s how we grow.

Time and time again, this Phoenix rises from the ashes, more powerful than ever.

Get ready for more, I’m not finished yet.

Til next time,

Rising Phoenix, lessons learned, I got you even if you don’t have me,  -Jen 

when it rains..

Thursday, ¬†I signed over the title of my car to the Insurance company. I am pretty sure I ¬†scared ¬†the insurance adjuster ¬†when my eyes started welling as I handed it over, got a knot in my throat¬†and I could no longer speak. I loved my car. This has been one rough month and it’s ¬†coming one blow after another.

I lived to tell the tale of the flood waters rising, the moment the renters insurance agent said flood is not covered under your policy, the moment I heard my vehicle was being totaled out, and survived my 1st trip car shopping for 4 hours yesterday after work and then when I arrived at my hotel a letter was inside my door.

It says, in short form, that during renovation process to repair the flood damage to the walls and floors, ¬†asbestos was discovered. My lease, as well as everyone else’s, ¬†has been terminated. Assistance from the complex (my hotel) will end the morning of 10-31. I am now officially ¬†homeless AND, I may not be able to recover anything left behind at this point.¬†Among those things, my acoustic guitar, viola I have had since I was in 5th grade, my children’s baby books, books and DVDs that weren’t destroyed in the water, all of my kitchen appliances, dishes, cookware, etc. Most of my furniture was already figured to be a loss, 2 beds, 2 chests of drawers, a nightstand, 2 end tables, an entertainment center, bookshelf, a lighted curio cabinet, a computer desk, recliner, oversized chair, another plush chair I had in my bedroom, 2 bamboo chests,¬†vinyl albums, all of my Nightmare before Christmas collectibles, my Minions, half my clothes, all 3 pairs of cowboy boots, linens, lamps, my lighthouse collection, a DVD player, VHS (yes I still used one)¬†and small¬†TV among other things. I am completely devastated. I will be taking most of the week off from work to see what I can do about a new place and work on purchasing my car. Again… yes these are all “things” but some of them were irreplaceable, and I BUSTED MY ASS FOR ALL OF IT! I am angry, hurt, and wondering what the fuck I did to deserve all of this SHIT at once.

Something has to give, I am one strong ass woman but, damn it, this was a lot to take on in 15 days. Heartbroken to say the least.¬†It feels like all¬†doors are closing in on me.¬†(cue “Christians”¬† it’s because I have “turned away from God” or “need to turn to God”?) Shut up, I will seriously consider punching you in the face if you say it.¬†¬†I don’t want to hear it or about how I should be blaming the complex and suing because this was beyond their control and it kills me to listen to other “asshole” residents say things like this and the suggestion to do the same.

Bottom line, it sucks. I would never wish this on anyone. Now it’s time to rebuild again, and believe me, I will. From the flames, stronger, wiser, and better than ever before.

This chic isn’t going down without a fight.

On another note.. the view this morning was absolutely stunning and my pictures are shit compared to what I saw with my naked eyes, but this is what I captured by lens.


I have never purposely sat up to catch the sunrise before. It was majestic to say the least. I will have to try to catch a few more this week while I have the time.


Until next time, the saga continues

never gonna quit- Jen


October 8, 2016 

Just another day, the weather was beautiful. I spent the morning on my back porch with coffee (smokes.. shhh), my tablet and phone and enjoyed the fresh air. I was a little down. I let things get to me sometimes and this am I let it out via blog that I have had on hold since then. So the morning turns to afternoon, I decide it’s time to color my hair, complete with tunes blaring (when are they not in my home?) I ventured out of the apartment about 8pm. The weather turned rapidly from beautiful to miserable, fast falling, rain. I needed to go to the store (smokes again… shhh) I made it to my car and I noticed a few inches of water built up around the car. I left anyway and almost instantly regretted it. Water was falling fast and piling up on both sides of the road. I had to drive in the center of a two lane road the whole way to and fro. I made it back to water covering my boots in the lot and still I didnt realize then, just how bad it would get and that it would be the last time I ever drove my car. The wind is howling, I gave in and started season one of Orange is the New black. I was determined to never watch it. I couldn’t stand hearing about everyone talking about it.. about now,  all over facebook people are reporting power going in and out or losing it completely. I notice the water creeping higher in the lot and started getting nervous as it climbed higher and higher up the tires of my car. I go to my back door and see the water inching closer to my sliding glass door and I started getting nervous. In the back of my mind I am thinking, it never floods here, it will recede. It’s about 11pm and a   good 3 inches from over taking my sliding glass door which is raised from the ground by 4 inches. By 11:20 it started creeping in from my baseboards. My carpet starts bubbling. I go into panic mode moving furniture off the ground as much as I could. I threw stuff into the bathroom tub thinking it would be safe. Water is creeping in now from every direction. All I could do is cry. I gathered my phone, tablet, a bottle of water and the candy bar I bought from 7-11 and brought them to my bed. The water is now ankle deep. I took  towels to dry my feet and to keep from gettimg my blankets wet to the bed and watched it continue to rise until I passed out. I had visions from a novel I read years ago coming true. It was the storm from Nicholas Sparks “Nights in Rodanthe” when the surf invades the beach house and the woman  is confined to the second story until the water receded. I was about 6inches deep then. When I woke at 2am, it was about a foot up the wall and touching the frame and bottom of my boxspring. I was on an “island”, reminiscent of a game we played as kids. My dad would lay in the floor and grab for our feet/limbs from the couch and try to pull us “down to the crocs”. The memory was comforting but I lay there crying waoting for the water to recede. It was down to an inch or so by 8am Oct 9th. I started assessing the full damages. You coukd see the water marks up the walls and furniture and then I noticed my 3 pairs of leather boots in the tub, wet. Water backed up the drain and got them. There was still water in the kitchen floor where a worm swam by my dishwasher. I lost books from my bookshelf, collections of dvds, records/vinyl. The realizations added up. I looked out the windows to see my car up to the door frame submerged. My heart sank. MY CAR!!!!  I then started taking video and photos and spent the day trying to salvage what I could in between bouts of tears. I never lost power. In fact that evening, I cooked dinner on my stove top with no problem. It was then my kids comvinced me to come to the house to sleep. The house got a couple inches of water too but nothing like mine. All three of us lost our cars, my daughter just bought hers days before it flooded out. It was heartbreaking all over. I have never been so scared in my life aside from when I got the call that my daughter was hit in the face by a softball that ricocheted off a pole and broke her nose on both sides and cracked her facial plate. That was an interesting night! 

The first 3 days following, I cried. I didn’t know what to do. It was a waiting game with insurance companies, car, Homeowners, and renters. I am still dealing. I have been in 2 hotels now, currently on the Virginia Beach oceanfront where I am booked til the 31st. It sucks but at least I get to be near the water, a source of calm for me… even now considerng my nightmares. At least the ocean is supposed to be there… the water in my home  was not supposed to be. It took 4 days to get into a rental car and it was a great feeling albeit not my car.. I was tear free until the day I noticed the demolition crew got to my place and half the walls had been cut out.

It sucks right now, but in time we will all be laughing about this. I can’t wait for that day. I would never wish this experience on anyone. I now have to go car shopping and wait on renters insurance to decide whether or not they will cover any of my losses. One of which I was so proud to have bought this summer, my super huge, plush, comfortable as sin? mattress set. I fear I wont be able to replace it with anything comparable especially for the deal I got on it. My car, of course, as well. I had a nice, reliable, paid off car with no issues and now she’s gone. The memories I have in this car? Priceless. I drove her down to Georgia  and back  in the summer of 2015, longest driving trip I personally ever drove. Vinyl records I was proud of. Queen, the Pretty in Pink and Top Gun soundtracks, a George Carlin album among just a few. My living room furniture.Yes, all material things that don’t matter on the end but I busted my ass for all of that stuff with my own money or had passed down a couple pieces. It sucks, but again, one day I will laugh like the “ever rebuilding Phoenix” I have always been but only discovered in the last 3 yrs. I may not be unbreakable but my ambition and drive are a force to be reckoned with, I promise you that. 

I will rise from these ashes again, stronger and more beautiful than ever

Until next time,

Unbreakable -Jen

the Phoenix always rises from her ashes; ¬†her story isn’t over yet but damn it! There are days I wish it would just end

I actually wrote this the afternoon before my life was turned upside down by the outskirts of Hurricane Matthew. That’s another story. I’d been debating sharing since I got the words typed out. I have been struggling with alot of things while undergoing major changes in the last few years and discovering things about myself that I never realized before. Things like, my strength and perseverance.. I am so much stronger than I let myself believe in the past and I am flying with it. 

I  have fought long and hard to be where I am today. Sometimes I have been afraid to leave my house. Others, I have left and can’t  bring myself to get out of my car, and still others…. I push on as if there were never a problem. Mostly the latter.
We are told that we are special, irreplaceable, unique, no one could take our place but it’s  a lie. The truth is if I walked out on either of my jobs, there would be someone in the wings ready to take my place. If I never shopped my favorite store (hypothetically, because I hate shopping) there would be other customers to take my place. I have been replaced in the lives of former lovers and friends and the world still continues on. Beauty, wits, scars, a heart of gold, possessions don’t alter the outcome. You can be replaced for reasons you may never understand. I have spent the last month wallowing in self pity, wondering  what I did wrong, what would have made things turn out differently , questioning my general awesomeness (deep inside I know I am pretty awesome) because it was so easy for people and one in particular  to walk away. It makes no sense to me, shit doesn’t add up. My memories betray me and there isn’t much around that doesn’t  make me think about them. A song (more than one), a place, a feeling, smells, a sarcastic comeback. I’m haunted, what I feel inside sometimes stings. Some days I walk around like a zombie going through the motions to get through another day and others I’m high and walking on clouds. Those are the moments in which I allow myself to forget. I joke about how I sometimes  regret working the hours I do but if I didn’t , I’m  not so sure I’d  have survived this long. I try to keep positive for those around me and for myself as well. I’m  doing the best that I can but I am tired. I keep wondering  when it will all be better. Will I run myself ragged for the rest of my life? I’m not the only one that feels this way. I’m  by no means alone but when the darkness comes, it can be overwhelming  and it will make you believe you’re not worthy of anything, much less happiness. I know I am worthy, please don’t think that I am never happy because I find joy and solace in some of the smallest things but there are times those moments  of darkness take over and it feels like hell on earth. Like I got punched in the gut and there’s a gaping hole in my body waiting for the vultures to take over.  I over think and my imagination takes off running. I feel completely  and utterly  alone. This is nothing  new, it’s  a devilish mix of anxiety and depression and a survivor I will remain because this feeling will pass until the next time. A Phoenix always rises from her ashes to see another new day.  I miss being held, having someone to lie next to me and feel safe, and to get the “steve’s” in life for me. (Steve’s are what I call cockroaches, the BIG ones) Those fuckers are everywhere. I could go out any night of the week and find someone to take home, but that’s not what I want. I want what anyone else wants, to be accepted for all that I am and all that I’m not. Complete and total honesty. I will catch flack for this but as always… I’m  just being real. Know that your opinion is just that, YOUR OPINION. I share too much and I really shouldn’t  say these  things. But maybe, just maybe someone else can get some peace by realizing that they aren’t  alone, it’s  completely normal(whatever that really is), and while there are days a straight jacket sounds fun, that’s not where I belong. Why are we so afraid to be real? People might not like us, it might hurt feelings. I’m just scratching on the surface. Have a drink with me, the conversations  we’ll  have when the inhibitions fall would amaze or terrify you. Hell.. sometimes all it takes is a long car ride. And this, my friend, is where I leave you. With my soul slightly  lighter and hope for tomorrow

Little did I know 10 days ago what would happen later that night and into the wee hours of the next morning

Til next time,
-killer of steves, rising phoenix, a little unsteady but still kicking ass in every way, JEN


Just some thoughts

I work 3 jobs. One of which at a local gym. It’s not great work but I like it (most days). This evening, (actually earlier in the week but I am lazy and never finished this post. I came across one of the most physically beautiful but ugly person I’ve ever seen. This woman was walking on a treadmill and giving a disgusted look to an overweight woman working out on a leg machine in the aisle next to her. You could tell she was judging the other woman. I’m thinking to myself, regardless of how you feel about someone that’s overweight, why would you”stink-eye” an overweight woman who is working out at the gym.. just like you? When I see women and men like “leg machine lady” I get really excited. Why? Because they are in the gym working it and I don’t know if you remember this about me but I was once tipping the scales at almost 400lbs.  I try to make eye contact with them and smile because I want them to feel good about themselves without making a scene. I remember how hard it was for me to come to the gym or Zumba classes at 350lbs. I felt like people would treat me like “treadmill bitch” and laugh and ridicule me for showing up. This is why seeing people that are where I used to be at the gym makes me so happy! I am not perfect by any means and have learned through experience and observation that even those “perfect, hard bodies” have extreme self image issues. I have walked in on conversation between women who work out regularly and look fantastic talk about how “fat” they are. Part of me wants to slap some sense into them but I get it. I will always struggle with self image, but I am coming closer to acceptance and have recognized the reality that my idea of what I should be just plain isn’t realistic. My body is scarred, worn out, stretched, and hung up wet. I’m dealing the best I can with what I left myself to work with, plus is.. I feel better than ever physically and I will take that even with my loose, marked up skin.

I read facebook like the daily news multiple times a day and some stuff gets to me. Like the chicks that post about how “thirsty” men are and they don’t want that attention but you are posting pics of yourself with your boobs hanging out for all to see!!! What the “fork” is wrong with you? What do you expect to get from doing that? Ugh!!! 

A friend of mine recently divorced and has a problem with the fact that her husband left her for another woman. All the while, she’d been cheating on him through their entire relationship. Why is that ok for you, but not him??? Where is your brain? 

I’ve had “friends” judge me for things I’ve done all while they were out there doing things worse than me?? I’ve been around the block and I know alot more than I let on. I always have and I will let you continue to make an ass of yourself to help you save face but don’t think you have EVER had me fooled. Empaths can spot a lie a mile away, we just don’t always let on that we know OR I second guess myself because I don’t want to believe you lied to me. I take honesty seriously. I can’t lie, it conflicts my very being and I feel guilty so if I try, I end up telling on myself anyway. Truth always comes out in the end. Why try to hide it?(but thanks for thinking I’m stupid) 

Annual workshop for back to school was last week. I’m excited and terrified all at the same time. New paperwork, ordering guidelines, procedure makes my head spin but it will all be ok. I got some new toys for work I got to put together Friday. Workshop was entertaining hanging out with another manager friend or two and making another one that I am pretty sure didn’t like me giggle and laugh cause I can make things entertaining. Not everyone is cool enough to recognize a unique and awesome soul like mine right away.

And.. I have moved, it’s been barely more than a week. My kids have come to stay with me a few times so far and I’ve had a few solo nights. It’s weird and different but good. The apartment model is next door so I have the best entrance way,   carpeted and blanketed with flowers and bushes. I feel like royalty walking the carpet to my door each day.. yes, I’m lame! It’s a small 2 bedroom apartment but it’s all I really need. The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades!(if you sang that last line, we could be best friends) 

We took a personality test at workshop last week and before we even started, I told my friend.. mine is going to be off the charts because there is no explanation for me. It was a bunch of questions with 2 possible answers for each question and based upon those answers, you were supposed to fall into 1 of 4 categories. Mine was so close.. I got 12 maches for 2 categories, 11 for rhe 3rd and 13 for the 4th.. so pretty much that tells me.. I’m a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get! Hahaha 

I know I’m leaving stuff out because I’m scatter-brained right now and I have a headache but this is as close 5yo caught up as I can be right now. 

tschuss, readers!
Until next time,

Your rising Phoenix, Winner for life, super big ball of awesome, Jen

Life skills learned from Tetris among other shit (and they say nothing good can come from video games)MIL drama

Summer is flying by and with it change. Change is scary and good at the same time. Life is unpredictable and you have to move with the punches or you won’t survive. You may survive but you’ll be miserable. I am a creature of habit. I tend to stick to routines because they are comfortable but I am discovering more and more that it’s ok to change things up a bit and it makes things better sometimes. Having held down 2 jobs for the last almost 2 years now (just shy of a month or two?) I know for a fact that the more active you are, the better you feel. Some days wear more than others but for the most part I love keeping busy. I don’t know what to do with myself when there is nothing to do.  So I got restless and decided to rearrange the freezers/refrigerators at the summer job and this is where Tetris comes in. A walk in freezer is a “god-send” in a kitchen but the one I’ve been working out of has been a nightmare. I couldn’t find anything because it was packed like shit and there were multiple 2 door freezers throughout the building with the same items inside making it hard to place orders and keep an accurate inventory so I spent an hour or more (that’s how much time I have on my hands some days) rearranging and gathering like items and “playing tetris” with boxes getting things better organized. Hopefully the regular manager appreciates it when she comes back at the end of August and that I will have depleted a good chunk of excess inventory by then. I should have taken before/after photos because I am wicked proud of my accomplishments in this kitchen. I believe you should leave things better than they were when you arrive and I will. Last weekend (this was actually a few weeks ago now. I draft posts and get busy and forget about them)was pretty fabulous too aside from losing tons of pics from my phone. My Galaxy 6S that I got in November crapped out (heat damage I believe) and the only options I had were to send off my phone to Samsung without a loaner or factory reset after saving my photos which I thought I had done only to find only a fraction actually backed up and saved.. I was and am still soooo pissed. The reset didn’t work so I got a new phone and managed to also get a great deal on a new flatscreen tv for my apartment in the same trip. I now have the galaxy 7 and am still learning how to maneuver it. I have been on the hunt for a new bed as well and managed to talk a deal up with the salesman at The Dump on an already discounted amazing queen set. It is a foam and spring hybrid that feels like a piece of heaven! Things are falling into place and I am slated to move August 19th! It will be a new beginning, new freedom and a sense of independence I have never had AND a stone’s throw from the kids who can come and stay as they wish. I will not make them leave their home. I am super nervous and have a few more things I will need to get but the major stuff is done and I’m working on building up savings. I have taken on a 3rd job saturday mornings cleaning vacation rental houses. I have seen some of the most amazing homes in the last 6 weeks. It’s difficult work and we have been able to knock out 2 houses every week. Emotionally, I am coming into my own. I try not to let things get to me so much even though sometimes it is unavoidable. I have a great support system when I choose to use it but I still prefer to navigate my problems on my own and occasionlly use an ear or two to sound off frustration. I am still reeling from the realization that I may never get my best friend back and I am so scared she will pass on before I get the chance to go down and visit,  if her family will allow it. I spent a night after work last week (really a few weeks ago now)driving by our childhood homes reminiscing, letting the tears fall and having faith that while she may never be the same person I knew I got reassurance she is at least happy. I actually spent a few nights in the house I grew up in that week house-sitting for my parents and it was surreal thinking/looking back on all those memories flooding back. There is a spot in that bedroom ceiling  (now painted over) that I had written “I love Andrew McCarthy” lol. I love my family and we are far from perfect but there is a genuine unconditional love there that will never die. I got to spend a night talking with my mom which we don’t get to do very often due to my crazy ass schedule. I tended my dad’s massive gardens and it was therapeutic in a sense. I definitely don’t have the free time to keep a garden like that up on my own. Fresh, home grown tomatoes are the best!!! Today (again, weeks ago)I stopped by one of the local Salvation Army stores for shits and grins and found an entertainment center, end table, and chest of drawers, all solid wood for dirt cheap. I am sooo excited. 

It hasn’t been all great. Just when I thought things were going well on all fronts, a bomb was dropped on me again that week. I am fully aware that my mother in law has NEVER liked me but she pulled a big one on my family last week. (Again.. more than a week ago I’m lazy)Offered to buy Matt a car to be put in his name that Tami could drive on the condition that I signed a letter waiving all rights to the vehicle. Seriously? I HAVE MY OWN FUCKING CAR, WHY WOULD I WANT ANY PIECE OF SHIT YOU OFFERED UP? I got back to thinking on all the times my family has done things to help us out and never once was a condition set on any of it. Regardless of how things end up with Matt and I, the intention was not to ever take anything from him. I chose to get my own place, how would it be fair to ask him for anything? I am furnishing it on my own as well. We have our issues. That is the reason for this separation. I have things I need to figure out for myself. Call me an asshole if you choose,  but it’s something I need to do. I owe it to myself and my family whether anyone understands that or not. It really isn’t for you or anyone to understand. It’s my life and it’s worth it to me to not be such a miserable bitch all the time. I will not post details here. Some things are better left unsaid. In the end he turned down the car. I was miffed but I would have signed the letter and out of spite sent an email to my MIL thanking her for MY new car sonce I’m a bitch like that. No, I wouldn’t have taken it, but the satisfaction of sending the message would have tickled me pink. (And this is where I pick up with the new) Personal growth comes from doing things you are afraid of and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I am forever evolving, a true phoenix. I fall and every time I get back up I emerge stronger than before. 

I still train with a trainer every week because I still believe we all need a little push sometimes to make us better. I am a creature of habit that gets stuck into routine,  a trainer brings in fresh ideas and keeps me motivated to continue. Thanks to Reggie, I am currently on day 4 of post leg day DOMS… or delayed onset muscle soreness. Its only gelt in my left hamstring now but let me tell you, climbing up and down 3 and 4 flights of stairs Saturday AM was kinda painful but I love it, it lets me know I did something. Muscle soreness comes from the breaking down and rebuilding of muscle. It’s a necessary part of the process. I may never be where I want to be. I still carry alot of excess skin and some fat. The skin drives me insane to this day but I have to look on the bright side. My body feels better than ever. I have saggy bits now that will probably always remain unless I surgically repair it and Idk that that will ever happen at this point. I don’t wear sleeveless tops because my arms are atrocious and I don’t want to see them and sure as hell don’t want anyone else to see ’em! There are pics on file in the archives. Long time followers have seen them and stats reveal others search for them from time to time. (Wierdos)

Today I paid my first months rent and officially signed my lease. There’s no turning back. In 4 days I will have my very own place for the first time in my life.  It will be a struggle but I believe that struggle will be necessary and it will force me to overcome. I have been thinking about changing careers. I haven’t decided exactly what for but in the mean time.. I am seriously considering getting certified to become a Zumba instructor, if I do that, I could take on a class or two at the gym which would be awesome. Idk yet. Nothing is ever set in stone. I have dreamsūüôā

This is where I leave you til next time

-Rising Phoenix, Beautiful Disaster, cheeky sarcastic chic, Jen

Feeling the music live is one of the best experiences in life. Timehop can be a major asshole! Our days have always been numbered


Yea.. I said feel. Someone tried to correct me once.. “didn’t you mean hear?” No.. feel. Some just listen, I feel it. If I really dig it, I can feel it like blood pumping through my veins. The bass drum like a heartbeat and it vibes through me. I like my music loud. It’s the only other thing that’s been with me forever. It’s my very best friend. I use it to motivate, ease pain, release frustration, celebrate, mourn, to communicate when I can’t put into words what I need to express,   everything. 

It’s no secret I am a lover of music.. all kinds. Genre doesn’t matter, if I feel it and it moves me, I like it.

In my dreams I am a rockstar, my band plays all kinds of music, we focus on eachothers strengths, no one stays in one position, we can all play multiple instruments and take turns pending on how a tune makes us feel. Lofty dreams for an introvert. I had someone ask me once why I identify with introvert because they didn’t think I was one. Common misconception about us is that we are always shy and quiet and that’s not the case. It depends on our comfort level, who we are around, and where we are at the time. I need space sometimes to collect myself, groups exhaust me and if I can’t get away I can be quite antsy and spiteful.

So back to live music.. the last concert I went to was Pierce the Veil. I’ve posted on it before. I had such a great time. It was reminiscent of the 1st Smashing Pumpkins concert I attended, I was 15 I believe, the Siamese Dream tour. The energy was exhilarating. This is the same feeling I got from Pierce the Veil. It brought back some pretty fantastic memories. Memories of my childhood best friend who attended both Smashing Pumpkins concerts with me. 

Missy is constantly on my mind and I wish so badly I could hear her voice and know she’s ok. Missy was diagnosed with cancer ( I do not remember the name of hers) a few years ago and was told she may not make it past the next 2 years. It was incurable but they coukd prolong her life with treatment.It was found as a spot in her mouth that wouldn’t heal. She had what she thought was a cold for a long time.There was a tumor forming in her sinus cavity and unfortunately the cancer metastasized to the lungs and liver. She’s been through chemo and radiation, also tried a new procedure involving implanting radiation seeds into her tumors in the lung/liver. They seemed to be helping. The tumor in her face/sinus cavity was removed. 

Thanks to Timehop over the last couple weeks or so.. text conversations popped up from a year ago when a mass was discovered in her brain. She was scared and those messages popped up and I re-read them and my heart sank. I didn’t know at the time that they would be some of the last real conversations we would ever have. We were making plans for me to travel down in August after her birthday. I was already booked on a flight to visit my brother in CO for his 40th birthday and couldn’t afford another flight so I decided I would make the 10hr drive down and I was so nervous not having driven a distance quite so long before. Tami agreed to accompany me for the visit. We had a wonderful visit (aside from my teenage daughter being just that), visiting her kids school, I was introduced to Gnocchi (so good) for the first time, we went on a walking ghost tour, Missy in a wheelchair because she didn’t have the energy or stamina to make the 2-3 hr tour walking. Alex (her husband) was leary of us going because he thought it might be too hard on her.  A day after  I arrived we got the news that the spots on her brain weren’t new tumors but necrosis (dead tissue) from the facial radiation treatments. Better, but still not great. She was supposed to get testing for approval for hyperbaric chamber treatments after I left and I don’t know that they ever started them because within a few weeks of my visit she fell into a coma. It’s hard because no one really keeps me updated. I don’t even know if she is fully conscious and alert or can speak. A mutual friend of ours contacted me this am asking if I knew anything and sad to say.. I didn’t. I can’t get hold of her family that lives with/around her. The only contact that had been  responding to me is her sister in law who also lives far away from them  as well, until tonight. I reached out to Katrina (SIL)and learned  Missy has suffered irreversible brain damage from multiple bouts with pnuemonia that required hospitalization. She is receiving round the clock care from a live-in nurse. Her short term memory is gone and she does not recognize her children. She had to re-learn how to eat and walk and walks with the assistance of a walker. She is pretty much oblivious to her situation and is genuinely happy but you can imagine what kind of pain this has caused for her husband and kids and other family. I knew something wasn’t right, I could feel it. I’ve had that feeling for months and it was confirmed. 

I am so glad I “ovaried up” and made that drive last summer because it was one of the last couple of weeks she was still herself. I feel horrid and part of me wonders if the ghost tour was part of the beginning of a means to an end. There were mosquitos and they were biting (me at least) The Drs thought at first it might have been meningitis. Did it (tour/mosquitos)contribute to her getting sick, the exertion on her frail body? I was one of the last friends to see her as she was. Does Alex blame me?  Alex did reach out shortly after my visit to say that the visit was so important to her and SHE was so happy we made it down and that HE was glad I’d made it down because it made her so happy. Did he know then that things would never get back to normal her from here? As if it ever had post-diagnosis. There are so many questions I don’t have answers to and my heart breaks for him and their girls.

 Luckily, I did hear back from Alex tonight. I didn’t ask any of those questions but I got a little relief because he did respond this time as I’d been reaching out for months to no avail and I get it. His wife can no longer care for herself or their kids. It’s devastating. When I got the news, I cried. Hiding in a bathroom stall at work.

Missy and I had a unique friendship. We didn’t always get along and there was rumor around the neighborhood that I called the fire department on her house when we were kids cause she pissed me off. (I’ll never tell).  Her mom was always thrilled about me when we were growing up but she loved me, I know this. I was the only real friend Missy had that always stuck around and she was the same for me. I was there for the multiple surgeries she went through growing up. Spent many summer days in a hospital room at Portsmouth Naval Hospital during her recoveries. (She was born with a facial deformity) We grew up, she went to college, I started having kids and got married, she got married and started her own family. We have led very different lives for 2 girls that grew up a street apart in the same neighborhood however the friendship always remained the same. Not many can say that they’ve held onto a friendship for more than 30 years. We are the type of friends that could go for days, weeks, months and even a year sometime without talking but when we came back around we could talk like we hadn’t missed a day in between regardless of the miles the disagreements and life getting in the way. There’s so much I still need to tell you. I know that whether it’s in this lifetime or not we will meet again. Until then I have thousands and thousands of memories. I have always admired your outgoing attitude, your amazing strength, and bravery. You’ve always been one of the strongest women I know.

Friends, strangers, whoever is still reading, I say this all the time. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Do not put off on tomorrow what you can do today, forgive people even when they don’t deserve it and let go of the past because there’s nothing you can do to change it anyway. Say what you need to say and do what you need to do now. Check on your friends and loved ones often. Make sure they know what they mean to you. Our days are numbered. 

Til next time..

A very nostalgic Rising Phoenix