Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Pretty in Pink

About two years ago I was in the grocery store and came across a clearance display of plants. Most were wilted and dry and probably going to end up in the trash can. I found a mostly dead zygocactus (Christmas cactus) and took pity and bought it. I knew my fiance would have something to say about wasting money but I didn't care.

I took it home, pulled off the dead pieces, and gave the poor thirsty thing some water. It drank it up in seconds so I added more. I checked on the little plant every day, probably over watering it at first but I really wanted it to live.

After a few days of TLC and a comfy new spot in the kitchen window I noticed that it looked to be a healthier shade of green. The leaves weren't as wilted. The soil was actually retaining water. My efforts were making a difference. It actually started to show new growth.

I nursed that cactus for two years. It got bigger and bigger and eventually needed a new pot. I was a bit frustrated because I knew that these particular cacti bloomed at least once a year, if not twice, around Christmas and Easter. No matter what I did it would not bloom. I talked to it, alternated light and shadow, watered it. It was large and healthy but no blooms.

It didn't matter. I still loved it. At the time that cactus was one of few things in my life that I had a little bit of control over.

My fiance and I split in October 2017. We cohabited in the same house until the end of February 2018.

In the middle of March 2018, that cactus bloomed! Little pink buds appeared and I held my breath that I would get full blooms. One day I came home from work and got my wish. Full, beautiful pink flowers. Two at first and as the days passed more cropped up.

Now I know part of what I will say was due to the situation and emotions at the time but I took the blooming as a sign of sorts. That finally, with the abusive toxicity from my ex out of my life, the plant had the positive environment it needed to finally bloom. Maybe I could finally bloom too.

Other things happened after that. I had a decline in my mental health. The kids and I lost our home. Somewhere along the way I had to give up my cactus. We lived in a hotel for a time, then with family, then hotel living again. Things have been really rough for us. I've wanted to throw in the towel a million times but with some help along the way I kept going.

As of September 30, the kids and I are in our own place. An apartment, though in reality it's more like a townhouse. My kids have their own bedrooms and privacy. Their own beds. We have a little bit of hand-me-down furniture but the rest will come in time. It's still a bit of a struggle but we will make it through.

On Saturday I dropped my daughter off at her BFF's house and took my son to the grocery store to get some lunch and dinner. Right inside they have their plant endcap. I looked over and see a cactus. Yes, another Christmas cactus, this one with blossoms already budding. I hesitated on buying it. $3 and I hemmed and hawed over it because really, things are tight and $3 could be used on something that was a NEED.

Tears welled up and I knew I had to get it. NOT because I WANTED it. I NEEDED it for what it represented. New cactus, new home, better life, better me. $3 and it made me inordinately happy. Even writing this I am a little teary eyed because I feel like our little family is on the verge of being great again. It will be hard and it will be just the three of us plus the cactus (it really needs a name) but we'll survive.

If the cactus has taught me anything it's that even if you're ready to give up, if you get the right help and TLC, one day you'll bloom again.

Thursday, October 24, 2019


Hey all, Jenn here. The last few years have been chaotic to say the least. I'm 41 now, single, and doing the single mom thing. I'll probably touch on things here and there.

I'm getting back in to writing again. I never really stopped completely but I put large parts of my life on hold for someone else and now I'm reclaiming everything I squashed down. I have a book review blog that I'm bringing back to life as well. You can find it here: https://shiningstarreviews.blogspot.com/ .

I've been approved for three books to review so once I get them read they will be posted. This blog here will be for my writing and life adventures. Along with the reviews I plan to do NaNoWriMo this year. I'll hopefully be talking about that a lot intermixed with life updates and just some general fun.

I hope you enjoy it here. Please, please leave a comment even if its just to say hello. You can also connect with me on my Twitter account: @farfromperfekt . I also have an author Facebook page that can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/authorjennifergarnick/ .

A sample chapter of a previous work in progress has been posted there. Please give the page a like, a read, and comment. I love interaction.

More updates to come. I'm back and I'm not leaving this time.

Xo, Jenn

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Baby Update

I had my echocardiogram last week and while the tech could not give me the results she assured me that it didn’t show anything serious. It was quite the relief for me. She also assured me that if there had been a problem with me becoming pregnant that Dr. A, my cardiologist, would have went over the risks with me at my appointment last year.

I am 23, almost 24, weeks along. I saw Dr. M, the fetal/maternal medicine specialist this week and she says that everything is coming along beautifully. The baby had a good heart beat and his bone size and thyroid measure normally. They check the thyroid because I have a thyroid problem and am on medication for it. They did say he was a bit chunky, but it was nothing to be concerned about at this time. He weighs a pound and a half when he should be closer to a pound. Since then, Bruce and I refer to him as Chunkadunk or Chunk.

Last night I sprawled out on the recliner to ease some of the ache in my back and Chunk decided to kick me. It was the first time (with him) that I saw my belly actually move. He is so much more active than Sabrina ever was. When I used to go to ultrasounds for her, they would have me drink a soda before my appointment to make sure she would be moving for them. Chunk is constantly moving and they have difficulty getting all of their measurements.

My sleeping patterns are horrible. I wake up a million times a night to change position or to go pee. I get cramps in my hip, roll over and go back to sleep only to wake up an hour later to a cramp in the other side. I have really vivid and sometimes creepy dreams. I have “hot flashes” where I will get so warm I throw off my covers because I am so hot and sweaty and then go back to sleep and then an hour later wake up because I am freezing.

The cravings. I have been putting hot sauce on EVERYTHING. French fries, chicken, even meatballs. The other night I almost put hot sauce in my pasta sauce. I normally crave some hot wings every once in a while and then avoid extremely spicy foods but I guess Chunk likes spicy so that’s all I want to eat.

I have always been a big woman and now I am huge. I don’t do baby bump pictures. I don’t like showing my body off like that. It’s huge, what is there really to see? My stomach gets into the room before I do and I’ve started walking like a duck. When I sit in a chair I have to sit back a little. Chunk is low, I mean REALLY low, and if I lean forward it feels like everything is pulling down.

We’ve explained to Sabrina that even though she “wants a girl person” that there is a little boy coming and there is nothing we can do to change it. She’ll rub my belly once in a while, and she likes to blow raspberries on my belly to “wake up” the baby. I think she is going to be a really good big sister. She is already talking about wiping the baby’s butt and sharing her toys.

I am keeping all of my appointments, taking all my medications, and doing everything I can to make sure that Chunk comes out healthy. I have another glucose intolerance test coming up in a few weeks and of course my bi-weekly ultrasounds. I can’t wait to meet my chunky little guy.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Oh, I forgot to update...

I finally had my appointment with the maternal/fetal medicine specialist. I had an ultrasound before even talking to the doctor. My little baby was squirming all over the place and was giving the ultrasound tech such a hard time. Baby just would not hold still for pictures or give her a chance to determine the sex. I thought for sure I would go another month (at least) not knowing if my baby was a boy or a girl.

She kept at it for almost an hour, but she finally crowed "Got it! It's a boy!"

I almost cried. Bruce and I were hoping for a boy. This is going to be my second and last baby and I was hoping to have one of each. Sabrina kept telling me "I want a girl person." but she is just going to have to be disappointed. Such is life, kiddo!

The doctor, Dr. M, was very nice, if a little bit cold. I know it's her job to point out the risks and possible complications but I feel that she could have maybe said some of them a little more gently. 

Some people ask me why I am stopping at two. Without getting into too much detail right now, I just have a history of health problems that make me a high risk pregnancy. This baby in particular could possibly have a more higher risk than I had with Sabrina. I have to undergo a few more tests before I want to discuss it. 

I am not going to dwell on the possible bad. I am going to focus on the happy, joyous time of having a boy. I am going to concentrate on all of the lovely kicking I have been feeling recently. I like to joke that he is a ninja. He's very quiet and still and then out of nowhere comes a flurry of kicks. 

Thanks to all of my friends that have been so supportive to me. It's been really hard not being able to depend on my mother at such an exciting time, but you guys have really made me feel loved and cared about. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm Back!

I apologize for disappearing. Things have just been up and down and busy since I found out about the baby. I have so many appointments and doctors to see it's mind boggling. I carry a binder with me whenever I leave the house now because I forget things. Some of the websites call it "pregnancy brain" I call it busy mommy syndrome. 

So Dr. D, the endocrinologist confirmed that I do have Vitamin D deficiency. He started me on Vitamin D pills (vitamins, duh) once a day. He wanted to treat me more aggressively but he can't because of the little bean in my uterus. I've been on them for about two weeks now, and feel no changes in the numbness in my hands.

A lot of my other symptoms have resolved, and before I started the Vitamin D. This makes me wonder what was going on. I think it may be possible that IF it is MS, then I had a flare up of symptoms and it is over. Just because my thyroid is messed up, and my vitamin D level is messed up, doesn't mean I am going to stop pursuing what is wrong with me. I fully intend to keep on after my doctor's. If this means I have to wait for the symptoms to return, or to demand an MRI after the baby is born, I am content with that. 

Once I make some phone calls later this afternoon, I will be under the care of six different physicians. If one of them can figure out what is wrong with my body, I will be happy. I'll be seeing my primary care doc, fetal-maternal medicine doc (for high risk pregnancies), my regular OBGYN,  my endocrinologist, my cardiologist, and soon my hematologist. The worst part about having all these appointments is not having a car. I spend a lot of time walking to bus stops, riding the bus, then waiting for the bus after my appointment. 

That's life. Maybe one day we will be able to afford a car. I consider us blessed that I can afford to ride the bus and don't have to walk everywhere that I have to go. The one good thing about the bus rides and waiting at bus stops is that with my binder in hand, I always keep extra paper so I can jot down notes on the new book(s?).

I only have three chapters down but it's my goal to have at least three more done by Friday. The book isn't going to write itself. I intend to post more here as well. It's therapeutic for me in a way. I can get out a lot of my thoughts without burdening my friends with a book length conversation.

The other things going on with me are emotional. I stopped my antidepressant, due to being pregnant, and that combined with hormones have been making me extra emotional at times. My mood swings are horrendous. Some days, EVERY little thing angers me. Other days, I spend a lot of time crying over stupid things. Some such things being some of my friends.

It has come to my attention that some of my friends and I are not as close as we used to be. Because I have a child, and another on the way, I can't hang out and party like I used to be able to. This has affected some of my friendships. Lately I find myself angered that I am not invited to a party or a get together. I want to rage at them that just because I can't drink doesn't mean that I can't hang out and have a good time.

One night I was feeling particularly down so I started posting some of my feelings on Facebook. I didn't name any names, I just made several comments about how I was feeling and how I was being treated by certain people. Several of my friends called or texted just to see what was up. The ones that I was really looking forward to hearing from never contacted me. I guess that is all the proof I need that it is time to let them go.

It hurts because these are people that I considered to be part of my family. I guess it's true what they say, people come in your life for a certain amount of time. You learn from them and then at some point some of them move on. Some stay.

I really cherish the ones that have stayed. They mean way more to me than they will ever know.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I haven't written in a few days cause I have been so busy. I saw my primary care doctor who did a urine test in her office which confirmed that I am, indeed, pregnant. She also sent me for lab work. She gave me a prescription for prenatal vitamins and instead of Lovenox she put me on Enoxaparin injections which is a generic heparin. I have to take FOUR shots per day. They are painful and the bruises are huge. 

This past Wednesday I saw my OBGYN. My official due date is December 19th. I know they will most likely induce me the week before. This is to control the level of the thinning of my blood. I am not looking forward to the pain but you do what you have to do.

I also had my long awaited appointment with the endocrinologist. He is going to keep me on the Synthroid. He agrees with me that my symptoms are most likely not thyroid. While he was not willing to diagnose me with MS, he said that it is possible that I have Vitamin D deficiency. He wants to rule that out before he moves on to anything else so he is sending me for several labs. He is checking several different thyroid labs, hormone levels, renal function, calcium, and magnesium levels. He'll be seeing me in the office again on Monday. 

Altogether I have like 15 blood labs and 2 urine tests to do tomorrow. I am going to be a pin cushion by December. 

I have to also make an appointment with my cardiologist and a fetal-maternal medicine specialist.  Apparently the fact that I am 34 is a risk factor as well as my medical history. That's fine with me, I will do whatever they need me to do to keep me and the baby healthy. I have occasional nausea that comes and goes but luckily no vomiting as of yet. My heartburn has been crazy. I mean, I got heartburn from pretzels and a glass of water.

The best thing about all of these appointments and all the bus rides is that I take my little notebook with me and scribble away notes for my new book. I got one more chapter done, and some pretty fleshed out ideas for at least the next three. I am really excited about this story. I've been going to bed earlier at night because I am so tired by the ending of the day so it has cut into my writing time a bit. It's okay though because when Bruce has his days off he doesn't mind if I sit for an hour or two and just type away.

I'll write more later, but here are some pictures:

My Prenatal Vitamin

Two Orange shots and Two black shots a day

Bruising from my injections

The little bean's first picture!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Exciting News!

That's right, two lines mean a new addition to the family! I am excited, anxious, happy, and sad all at once. This wasn't a planned pregnancy exactly, but I am going to just go with the flow. We are hoping for a boy but as long as it is a healthy baby with ten fingers and ten toes and everything in all the right places we will take whatever we are blessed with. Who am I kidding, even if there were something wrong, we will take the baby and go with the flow.

I was so nervous when I took the test on Saturday. No idea why because it's not like it's the first test I have ever taken. My hands were shaking so bad I almost spilled the sample. Then as I watched the two lines popped up, and after three minutes it was positive! My first reaction was to cry. My second was to just sit on the edge of the tub staring at it.

I finally composed myself and went out into the living room and told Bruce to go take a look for himself. He calls from the bathroom "Are two lines good or bad?" I had to laugh cause I left the box right next to the test.

We're happy with a new baby coming, even though there are some family members that may not be. It is what it is, I am not able to ask for a refund or send it back. They will either accept it or not and that is their choice. 

I will be a high risk pregnancy. This is no news to me because I was a high risk pregnancy with Sabrina. I have several medical conditions that will need to be monitored. I will have to see a high risk OBGYN. Whatever I have to do, I will do it. This include the shots of Lovenox (a blood thinner) four times a day. They are painful and leave horrific bruises but a healthy baby and a healthy mommy is worth it. 

I already had my first massive headache from the caffeine withdrawal but I made it through. I didn't have any nausea or vomiting with Sabrina, but so far every day in the middle of the afternoon I have been getting nauseated. No vomiting yet (knock on wood) so that is good at least. Maybe since this pregnancy has been different it means a boy? Wishful thinking, I know. 

Sabrina is the cutest. We told her that there is a baby in my belly and that it should come out around Christmas time. She likes pretzels as one of her snacks and yesterday she brought me some and said, "Mommy, baby eat some pretz." She is so cute and is going to make an amazing big sister.

*  *  *  *  *  *  

The day I found out I was pregnant I also knocked out the first two chapters of my new book. Since then things have been a little crazy but I plan to get at least one more chapter knocked out today. I made one minor change to my outline as I was going along and the rest just flowed out of me.

Off to get some writing done and trying not to crack my face from smiling so much. I have so many exciting things going on!