Tag Archives: weights

V is for a vacation… with and from my values. With is better. Trust me.

I started writing this V-themed blog post in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, August 21st on a chartered bus heading from LAX to San Diego after a very long day of traveling.

This is what the inside of the bus looked like at 2 am PST somewhere between LA and San Diego... because I thought it might be blog-worthy.
This is what the inside of the bus looked like at 2 am PST somewhere between LA and San Diego… because I thought it might be blog-worthy.

V… vacation… values… it popped into my head, I started writing (and then got very bus-sick, so put it away), and it’s been writing itself in my brain since that day. More and more and more. Time to get it on the screen and then out into the ether.

Since that super late night/very early morning bus trip in California, I visited friends and got an opportunity to see their new house and ridiculously adorable new puppy.

Oh how I want to steal this sweet puppy and make her my own!!
Oh how I want to steal this sweet puppy and make her my own!!

I boarded a cruise ship with my husband and said friends (plus some new ones!) and cruised down the coast of California from Long Beach to Ensenada and back.

I think we all know that the towel animals are legitimately the best part of a cruise, am I right?
The towel animals are totally the best part of a cruise, am I right?

I got on a plane, came home to Wisconsin, weathered an eczema flare and a bit of a head cold, and welcomed my sister, her husband, and their two ridiculously cute little girls into my home.

GAHHHH!! The cuteness of my nieces! I can barely stand it!!!!
GAHHHH!! The cuteness of my nieces! I can barely stand it!!!!

And now here I am, back and ready to tell you about my vacation– with and from my values.


We’ve talked about all kinds of values in this space– some explicitly, more often implicitly. But based merely on that word cloud that pops up on the right, I think we can get a pretty good picture of the things that are important to me: family, friends, kindness, love, health… Harry Potter. These are things that I value and I try to live my life accordingly.

Except when I don’t.

When it comes to kindness and health, I spent some time on vacation with and from both. With was where it’s at. Trust me. Let’s talk about that.



Getting to our friends’ house in San Marcos was quite trying. I’ll spare you the details, but you’ve all traveled by air, you know what it’s like to miss your connecting flight… Long story short: 12 exhausted passengers (including three from first class and one mom with two young children) were waiting at the closed gate when the agent came back from sending off our flight without us. That’s a recipe for a very angry party. And that gate agent? She was a very easy target.

Lots of people were yelling lots of things at her… demanding managers… using the phrase “first class ticket” over and over again…

But kindness, you know?

Patience and such… catching flies with honey… it’s something Seth and I value. And we made it to San Diego that night. Late, yes. But completely unscathed and super happy to see our friends. No yelling necessary.

But then there were new friends of friends and I got super scared. I was a little Judgey McJudgerson, assuming I wasn’t going to like people… mostly because I assumed they wouldn’t like me. They were all from SoCal and had cool hair, listened to cool music, owned cool companies, wore stylish clothes, and so on and so forth. No way could they have all that and still be nice… except they were. And then I felt like a big ol’ dummy for not giving them the chance I would have wanted them to give me… and that they did give me.

Kindness. It’s something I value. That was a good little lesson about it. Also, I have some new friends (with cool hair and cool jobs and cool music and cool locales– suh-weet!).



I also value my health… and it’s a constant struggle to uphold this value in my daily life on account of all that stuff with weight and food and gastrointestinal issues and such. You’ve read about it if you’ve been reading along.

First, the upholding of the value: I packed weights! In my carry-on bag! That I dragged across the country! And more importantly– I used them every day!! They were just 2.5 lbs a piece, but a 20 min Jillian Michaels-based circuit workout once a day plus some “olympic jogging track” walking with my friend Melissa and I felt awesome, awesome, awesome about getting some physical activity in, even while on vacation. Yes, TSA and I had to chat about the weights, but I joked with them and it was all good. (Oh how I wish I could have gotten a picture of the weights on the xray screen– it was hilarious!)

TSA guy (to other TSA lady): come look at this!

Me: It’s weights!

TSA guy: How much?

Me: Just 2.5 lbs a piece… I’m not very strong!

TSA lady: I only do three [grin].

We all laughed… ahhhh ha ha ha ha! (And Seth just rolled his eyes…)

Health FTW!

Except… I decided that since I was on vacation and since it was super hard not to eat gluten while traveling, I was just going to do it. And I did it. On the plane (Biscoff cookies… nom nom nom…), in the airport in Minneapolis (I got the chicken nuggets rather than the sandwich on a bun– a feeble attempt at limiting gluten intake…), a Subway cookie on that crazy bus (because it was my consolation prize!), and by the time we made it to San Diego, my hands were starting to get puffy.

I didn’t eat gluten the rest of the time, but the damage was done. And by the time I got home to Wisconsin, I was in a full blown eczema flare.


In retrospect, it actually looks much worse while healing... those blisters don't seem so bad. It's the complete loss of skin after the fact that's hardest to bare.
In retrospect, it actually looks much worse while healing… those blisters don’t seem so bad. It’s the complete loss of skin after the fact that’s hardest to bare.

Super suck. I beat myself up about it for a while, mostly because my hands freaking HURT.

Then my therapist made a really good point: health is hard, even if you value it. AND… what would I say to my friend Melissa? (I think that’s his new favorite line…) I’d be kind to my friend Melissa, of course, so I gave myself a little break. (A little one.)

The blisters are gone now, all my skin has peeled or flaked or done whatever it’s going to do (I’ve coined the term “handruff” to describe the skin flakes my palms leave behind on pretty much everything I touch until the new stuff grows in), and some new fresh stuff is finally growing in nicely. It was a rough week — definitely not worth the cookies and nuggets, no matter how delicious. (Biscoffs… so delicious!)


Basically, vacations are tough for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love them… they’re awesome. But sometimes I make them harder for myself than I really need to, just because I don’t stay consistent with my own values. I value kindness… I value my health.

The most important thing I think I learned from all of this is that your values are your values, no matter the place, no matter the circumstance…. that’s what makes them a value and not just a passing fad.


(Good news: I also value blogging and the wheels seem to be perpetually turning and turning and turning! I’ve got some words percolating about family and friends of friends that I’m excited to say. WOOOORDS! Yay!)


PS: Harry Potter

Also, real quick, Harry Potter is a value that I never leave behind… and our little cruise vacation was no exception. Melissa, Emily, Christian, and I went to Harry Potter trivia night on the ship. We were late and didn’t get to officially participate, but I can say with absolute confidence that the four of us would have ROCKED IT had we been there the whole time. That ship on a stick would have been ours! Lucky for the other contestants, we were only playing for fun!

Late to the party, but I’m dancing in Downton now! (with lots of platelets!)

Before getting into the real deal, I’d like to share with you a very embarrassing thing I did today.  Because it’s funny.

I had a 6 month follow-up appointment with my hematologist this morning.  She is following me for ITP– idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura.  Basically, my platelets are low and the ones I do have are enormous because they are immature.  It’s generally not an issue, except for a little bit of extra bruising and a tendency for nosebleeds, but it can be serious so it requires some monitoring just to make sure the platelets aren’t dropping too low.  (For your reference, > 150K is normal and I hover around 90K… not really dangerous until you get to 50K or below.)

This morning, I had to have a blood draw for a platelet count and an abdominal ultrasound to check and make sure my spleen hadn’t turned into a platelet-hungry beast spleen.  When the results were in, it was time to see Dr. Gayle.

After the requisite waiting period (but really, it’s ok– I could hear her laughing with an older couple in the room next door, and chances are good one of them has something much more serious than me… she’s such a good doctor!) Dr. Gayle came into the room and looked at me askew over the papers in her hand saying, “What have you done differently?!”

Naturally, my mind (and hands) went straight to my hair and I said I got a haircut and launched into a big long explanation about how it was so necessary and I just couldn’t deal with the frustration of my long hair anymore and blah blah blah…

Except, Dr. Gayle meant what had I done differently that might have affected my platelet counts…


…because they were normal.


Unfortunately, the heat had already risen up my neck to my face and my armpits had dumped their nervous reserve sweat (it’s always there, you know, just waiting to drop when you get nervous!) and I was pretty much embarrassed beyond usefulness.  No idea what I actually did differently… but it was unlikely to be related to the haircut.  My platelets are still gigantic so the ITP is not gone.  I guess I’ll try to make a good impression again in another 6 months.  (Such a nerd!)CBC


And now, let’s head downtown to Downton…

So, this is kind of embarrassing for me to admit, but I just (like this week) started watching Downton Abbey.  So far, I have watched the first two episodes of season one… and I’m in L-O-V-E LOVE!

To be perfectly fair, my friend Ellen tried to turn me onto it a few months ago, so there had been intervention on my behalf.  (Ellen! You were so right!) And I was vaguely aware of the British countryside premise, so being the Brit-o-phile that I am, you’d think I would have gotten on board.  (Is Brit-o-phile a thing?  Probably not… I mean it like Francophile, lover of all things French… except that I am a lover of all things British– especially Colin Firth.)

Anyway, Seth hooked his old xbox (not his old old one, just his old one… and he’ll get a new new one sometime in the near future, so I may be looking at an upgrade… not that I’d notice one way or another, I’m just glad he showed me which buttons to push) up to the tv in our sweet workout area* of the basement and then discovered the beauty that is streaming from Amazon Prime.  HOW HAVE WE HAD AMAZON PRIME FOR SO LONG AND NOT DISCOVERED THIS EARLIER?!?!  I just don’t even know… it’s amazing.

And most importantly, Amazon Prime has streaming for Downton– YES!!!

So, of course, you can expect many, many, many more Downton (yeah, totally thought it was DowntoWn until like 5 minutes ago…) references in the near future, but I’d like to start with what Lord Grantham said to Matthew Crawley (don’t spoil his demise for me anymore that it already has been– I should have been more careful with the Internets!!) regarding Matthew’s reluctance to have a valet (with a hard t of course…):

“We all have different parts to play, Matthew, and we must all be allowed to play them.”

Word, Lord Grantham.  Word.

In so many instances, I hear this debate about what we should all aspire to be– nowhere more loudly than in modern feminism discussions as we scream back and forth at each other about whether it’s more “important” to be a strong working role model or an ever-present mom or whatever.  But I think Lord Grantham knows what’s up: play your own dang part.  And allow others to play theirs.

Matthew’s valet desires to be a good valet, and to serve the master of his house in the ways that a valet should.  He takes his role seriously and warms to Matthew instantly once he lets him play that role.

Whether we agree or disagree with someone else’s choices, the way they’ve decided to fill this role we call life is really irrelevant, because ultimately, you only get one part and it’s up to you to play it well.  Not to worry about how other’s are playing theirs.

That’s between them and the director 😉


*So, yeah, I’ve got a home gym.  No big deal.  I just do some hills on the elliptical, rock some pilates on my squishy mats, and do a little bit of free weights because my dad says weights are the cure for anything.  Got a headache?  Lift some weight– it works, for realsies.