Disney World!

When my parents were visiting we went to Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  My mom even posed on Cinderella’s carousel. Then last weekend my friend Helen, almost 7 years old, and I went to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.  I learned Magic Kingdom is opened until midnight.  It was a really long day.  There is a lot of construction at Magic Kingdom, sort of takes some of the magic away from it.  But, it should be done soon and then we will have a magic princess land in the back.

It was a great time both days, though seeing all the caged animals sort of makes me feel sad.  Helen had never been to Animal Kingdom so she was really excited.  There is a restaurant called Tuskers in the Africa area that I remember had good food that was somewhat healthy (couscous, tabouli, roasted meats, veggies, curry, salmon, etc).  When we got there though, it was just the end of breakfast so we only had half the lunch items out.  The plus side was that it was a character breakfast so we got to meet Donald and Daisy Duck, Micky, and Goofy.

At Epcot it was Flower and Garden Festival time which meant pretty orchids, flower pots, landscape designs, and the butterfly garden.

Pictures below!

Animal Kingdom

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Pay attention to the here in now or you might step into a big pile of dog….

Jack is gone

So, its a bittersweet day.  I am one HUGE step closer to leaving, but that step involved my wonderful, loving, best friend, caring, sweetheart, cuddly dog, Jack, to make his way to Michigan with my parents.  I have to admit, its hard to even type this.  I feel like such a jerk for abandoning my dog, even though I know it is better for him to not be here now.  Heck, it might have been better for him to be there even if I was not leaving. Since this kind of leads into the middle of the story, let me start from the beginning…

Where are you? In Savannah

So my mom was coming and then not coming and then she wasn’t coming but eventually when I told her that she could take Jack she decided she could brave her “nerves” and make the trip to Florida. It is a long drive and they were planning on driving straight through Friday morning to Saturday. Worked out perfectly since Friday night I was going to a Chris Botti concert (review next!) with my friend Kathy.  It also allowed Jack to go over and say good bye to Kathy and her family one last time.

So Friday morning at work I was mostly worried about whether we were going to get there on time if we left at 430 (barely) and if I could get in a nap before I left.  So I get a call at 720.  It is my mom, “So, where are you?.”  I replied cautiously, “Um…I am at work, where are you?”

“In Savannah.  See you soon.”

Soon, like in three hours.  Apparently they left Thursday night to miss those horrible storms that whipped through Indiana and Kentucky.  And thank God they did, they just could have, ya know, called me.  So I call my boss and tell him I have to leave early (at 930) and I already worked over time (which I had hoped to cash in) so my hours were okay.  I worked like crazy to get a job done by the time I left and then ran like a crazy person home to clean, clean, clean.  My house was a mess.  boxes everywhere, dirty floor, dirty dishes, etc.  I cleaned like crazy and a in the few hours I had it was spotless, well almost spotless, just as they pulled in.

They brought two of their four dogs with them to make sure they got along with Jack and because mom does not do well without them any more.  It was an instant hit for my dog.  He just loved their dogs.  Their dogs tolerated him but mostly ignored him.  Abbea would chase the ball and Jack would chase Abbea.  It was funny, Abbea hardly even noticed he was there biting her ankles.

So fast forward to me going to the concert, going to Disney with my parents, packing stuff up for the yard sale, selling furniture on Craigslist, mom getting an emergency tooth extraction, and getting my first pair of real glasses and sun glasses with corrective lenses (love the sunglasses, not the regular glasses) and it was Thursday suddenly.  A whole week flew by.  Friday they were going to leave to Michigan.  I had to give up my precious Jack the very next day.

Final walk

So, instead of  going out to dinner to use my gift card I got for crappy service at a Darden owned restaurant, mom and dad brought home food and cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory so Jack and I could spend the night with each other.  We went for our last walk around Cranes Roost together and then walked with Michelle and her dogs Hercules and H2.  And I admit, I balled.  I cried so hard people probably were wondering what was wrong with me.  As we were walking around Cranes Roost though, I realized I was so busy being upset and missing Jack and being preoccupied with moving that I was not actually spending the last moments I had WITH Jack.  Just being in the moment and walking my dog.  I realized this when I looked up at the sky.  It was a gorgeous sunset towards the west, bright pinks and oranges tinged with gold (much prettier with my new corrective sunglasses I must say).  To the North there were some intimidating black clouds that blew away very fast, leaving the smell of jasmine and orange blossoms in the air.  It was really the perfect Florida night.

If I was caught up in my emotion and attached to my own misery, I was not going to be able to spend this moment with Jack.  I would not have noticed the toddler getting chased by ducks, or the couple walking two massive dogs (not sure of the breed but HUGE) with a third little chihuahua leading the pack, or how in the east the sky was the most beautifully faded colors of blue and pink.  I would not have noticed the couple who wanted to say hi to Jack and who I had a great conversation with.  I also would not have noticed the pile of dog crap in the middle of the sidewalk, that some poor runner ran into.  I also would not have noticed the smile Jack looked up at me with his smiley face and wagging tale, questioning what adventure we were going on next.

My first goodbye

I know he is better off with them.  He was so much happier when they were here.  He was hardly ever alone (and hardly ever will be in Michigan) and when he was he had two friends to play with.  He loves mom and dad and the girls.  He did not chew on anything or pee on the floor.  He is much better off.  And at no point while I was walking around with Jack on our last walk did I think it was the wrong choice.  That did not make it any easier though.  This morning when mom and dad left at 5:30 (and they still have not called me with an update) I was a mess.  I forced Jack to cuddle with me on the couch one last time and took him to the car.  It was horrible, but necessary.

I also know he will be here when I get back, but in the mean time I have to come home and open a door where no happy puppy dog face greets me, shaking his ears and his collar tinkling. No one to cuddle with if I get scared at night.  No one to walk with at 2 in the morning when I cannot sleep.  No one to be there all the time so I never feel lonely.  No one to give me that unconditional love a dog gives.  I know it is all selfish, but I will miss him.  He was my baby.  No, he still IS my baby.  I just need to get over feeling as if I am abandoning him and feeling sorry for myself.

I realized though that I have been looking for something to come home to.  I did not think I had anything.  No boyfriend or kid.  I do not live near my family.  No house.  No job that makes me motivated to get up in the morning.  But, I had Jack all along.  I should have been a better mom to him.  Those, fairly frequent, times where I spent an hour later at work, were they really worth it?  Staying late and then going to yoga? Jack is definitely the number one thing I will miss.

My therapist pretty much told me today to keep on keeping on, in much more eloquent sounding words.  To use my skills I have developed to get this thing done.  Next weekend my lease is up.  So, I did what I do in such a situation, I went to yoga.  Happy Hour yoga at Altamonte Springs Yoga to be precise.  I even donated two bottles of wine (my parents brought four more down with them).  It was just what I needed. Then I chatted with and sold items to yoga friends, the yoga community is so nice to have at times like now.

So I am going to keep on keeping on.  Soon a post about the Chris Botti concert and Disney!  And I will probably take a trip to Epcot Flower and Garden Festival to take pictures.  I also need to find a place to stay after next week, which I am amazing not worried about.  And there are plenty more good byes to make.  But for now, I am going to go to bed.  There is a garage sale to tend to tomorrow; a day to say good bye to so much stuff!

Why I am Blogging (Warning – Long and Personal)

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!This is a little belated but I went out and had a great time with my girl friends, we had some drinks and some fun.  Stephenie even bought us presents including a Mad Lib we all did together.  I left mine at the table so I can’t post my results, sorry.

However, I had a secret Valentine put a carnation on my door and rose petals and red ribbons on my mat.  I think it was my neighbor Barbara, she is like my grandma away from home.  She will not admit to it though.

I hope you all had a great day too!

While I Stephenie and I were stuffing ourselves with Moe’s Southwest Grill naked burritos pre-drinks, she got to asking me how exactly I chose to go down the travel path I am looking at.  I realized I needed to go back a bit further and explain a bit of where I was a year and a half ago.

One and a Half Years Earlier

Around a year and a half years ago my boss (who is no longer my boss) was driving me crazy.   Literally I remember calling my parents one day while at work and asking them what the point was.  If this is life what is the point.  I am not airing out his dirty laundry, but lets say that everything was not necessarily on the up and up when I had to have surgery.  He was disliked by many and trusted by even less, which should have made me take it with a grain of salt.  But I did not. I am not the type of person who like to make a scene about something that happens once or twice.  However, I am also not the type of person that can take abuse on a regular basis.  First I tied to take it through the appropriate channels.  This is where my naive self learned that HR is always the EMPLOYERS advocate.  Then I got angry.  Then I gave up, and then angry, and then gave up…you get the picture.  I was cycling through constant anger and apathy.

Then grandpa Bob got cancer.  When grandpa got sick everything really started to spiral out of control.  My mom, who was always the strong never-in-the-passenger-seat always in control type, became the type of person who cannot drive more than a half hour without asking my dad to drive the rest of the way.  She just could not keep up control.  She bought four dogs (named after NCIS characters (Abby, Zeva, Ducky-McGee, and Leroy Jethro (LJ)).

I did not know what to do.  All of my family is in Michigan.  My sister was helping out at my grandparents all the time and I felt like the rotten daughter and sister.  But I did not want to go back home.  I REALLY did not want to go back home.  I felt as if I always had to be someone else around them, because they wanted the old Laura to come back into their life, even though she did not exist anymore and had not for years (I left home at 18).  So I did not know what to do and decided to get expert advice.

The first question, he asked of course was then who are you?  If that is not who you are, who are you?  If you are unhappy at your job why are you still there?  What do you want to do?  And I was completely blank.  I could list hobbies I like to do.  I could list accomplishments I have achieved.  Awards, scholarships, jobs, salary, etc.  But  Who am I?  Wow.  Just the thought nearly put me into an panic attack.  I have always been kind of a nervous type, but it had been getting worse.

So we started with something more simple.  What do I want to do right NOW.  I want to take time and explore who I am.  Travel, cook, travel, write, sew, travel, write, travel…  Okay, so why don’t I do it?  JUST DO IT!  Well that is where things got heavy.  We worked through everything, all my excuses and insecurities.  We worked through grandpa’s death, my families reaction, my mom’s downward spiral, and my lack of boundaries.

One Year Ago – Epiphany

Then one day last January I showed up and said.  Ok, why don’t I take some time off?  Mind you, he had been telling me to do this since day one.  He even would fill out an FMLA form for me (to make my time of a protected health problem so work could not fire me).  “YESSS!!!! You finally got it!”

I have to say my mom was probably the catalyst.  She let so much get to her.  Work, grandpa, etc.  She is the shell of the woman she used to be.  I refuse to let myself get that far.  That is why I got help when I did.  That is why I go to yoga.  And that is why I HAVE to do this trip.

Where I am Now

So my plan started a year ago.  It has changed and evolved and is still not very precise.  But, that is how I got here.  It is why my blog is UpcycledBliss.  The only thing in life i have to work with is what I was given at birth, my mind, my body, and my soul.  I am on a journey to connect with all three and make them into who I want to be.  To bring this into all aspects of my life and to really find my own bliss which I know exists somewhere inside me already.  I always loved cooking contests on TV where the chef contestants were given surprise ingredients and had to make do with what they had.  Mainly because that is how I cook.  I can make amazing dishes out of left overs and what is available.  I am good at swapping out what I do not have in my cupboards and using what I have.  I want that in the rest of my life.  I need to get rid of what everyone is telling me what I should be doing in my life and putting in it what I know I want in my life as I discover what those things are.

If you made it to the end, thank you for reading!  It was a long time coming.

Picture of dahlia with bee taken in October in Michigan at my parents house taken by me, Laura.  Please do not use my pictures without linking back to me and please do not try to sell my images (I know, they are not that good, but it has happened).

Things Fall Apart and I go to Yoga

Picture by my friend Niyoga

Me in Crow at Rasa Lila Festival Central Florida 2011

So, my mom and dad  were going to come down from Michigan and help me empty my apartment and take a few things back to Michigan.  My mom is having a hard time with things and she reacts with nerves and anxiety.  Meaning every time in the last several years she said she was going to come down to see me, she has not.  And yet again she has canceled on me.  Now, I am used to living alone.  I am also used to dealing with things and mom canceling.  But after Japan did not go through.  It hit me hard.  I was very upset and starting to think I am not doing the right thing.  If those two relatively small setbacks throw me off, how am I going to get by on the fly and on the road.  So what did I do?  I sat and felt sorry for myself and then over came the urge to go to bed early and went to one of my favorite yoga classes (I will say that about a lot of classes, beware!) at Altamonte Springs Yoga, warm and slow with Julie K.M. On my way I just kept thinking “I want to melt this all away!”

I love this class because it always brings to me what I need.  It is like there is some weird connection between me and this class and the intention set for the practices is always what I need.  This class was about things not working out as you plan but using what you do have to your advantage.  My blog theme even.

She has been doing many classes lately without using vinyasas.  Sort of a challenge for her self and a different point of view for us students.  I was so focused in the class.  I can still describe my main drishti points.  Yet I was flexible enough in my practice to back out when I needed, grab a drink of water, or modify as needed.  And even though I was focused everything felt much lighter and easier and less forced.  Well except the crazy balance pose sequence.  It was hot and sweaty and my nose ran (like it does at any good yoga class) and I melted.  My body and brain and soul felt they had melted into exactly where I was supposed to be.  I went home, walked the dog, and then melted back into my bed.  How I am going to miss my bed.