Saturday, November 8, 2014

Please don't fall out of your chairs. Or off your couch. I'm back.

I didn't check the actual date of my last post, but I believe it was close to a year ago. A YEAR!! How did I go that long without saying things? I'll let you in on a little secret. It's called "I blogged while borrowing the hospital's Internet and time during my night shifts." And "I don't have internet at home." But now, I have a shiny, slick new iPhone and oodles of free time while on maternity leave. HA! If you've never had a baby and taken a maternity leave, I can imagine you would think it was oodles of free time, but the reality is that (for me anyway) it seems even harder to accomplish anything not baby-related. I would love to delve into baby-having deeper at a later time. I'll let the PTSD have a little longer to mellow. But for now I just wanted to explore the blogger app and say "Hi, friends. Missed you. Missed sharing my crazy, inappropriate opinions about everything. And pictures of my kid(s)."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Obligatory Fall Pics

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Preschool class field trip to Martin's Apple Orchard.  We love this place!

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Learning about that green thing from Mrs. Katt

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Roca Berry Farm Pumpkin Patch

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

AVanBoeningMHT...No More! (#305 and #306 on the life list:)

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Hello, internet.  Its me, Allison.  Remember me?

Yep.  You recognize me with a martini, right?  Well, I have a lot of words for you.  Its my last night of being an employee of the hospital.  My last night of being someone else's employee, period!  I'm kind of a mess.  Let me elaborate, as you must be bored, if you are reading my blog.  First of all, I'm downright sad to be leaving the hospital.  Much as I can't stand the way our program is being run these days, I have always had such good, close friendships with a good chunk of my coworkers.  I'm not sure if its the fact that we work in mental health and therefor have similar personalities or sense of humors or what but I have formed some really great friendships here.  This has been my employment home since I graduated from college.  Eleven years.  That's one third of my life thus far.  For about 8 of those years, I came here for more than 40 hours a week.  I got attached.

Aside from missing my current coworkers, I'm really going to miss the kids.  Its a pretty rare opportunity that we have in our program, to spend time with kids who are in crisis.  Since I started working mostly night shifts, I haven't spent a ton of time with the kids and I miss them.  It will be so strange not to have that connection to youth any longer.  I have to say also, that doing this job felt sometimes like I was actually making a difference.  Obviously I got paid, its not like I was volunteering.  And more often than not, the kids don't seem to visibly take much stock in what we say, but there were those rare moments that I saw kids improve and learn and smile and laugh because of something that our team of people did and that just kind of gives a different meaning to a job than just being the place that signs your paychecks.  Our cleaning job is hugely rewarding as well, but its for much different reasons.

And the biggest question of the night...AM I MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE?!?  I think I've said before how much I hate grown up stuff, like retirement funds, insurance anythings, blah blah blah.  I might be the most immature 33 year old that exists.  But when you work for a company big enough to take care of most of those things for you, it doesn't really matter how immature you are.  When you ARE the business owner, you have to start figuring those things out.  You have to learn about IRAs and mutual funds and The Affordable Care Act and, like, budgeting.  GROSS!!!  Can we please just go drink martinis???  Somewhere in my brain, I just always assumed I would have the hospital job to fall back on, if cleaning didn't work out or didn't quite pay the bills.  Or heaven forbid, I get injured.  I mean, my business largely depends on my physical health!  Poop!

Now that I have deep breathed my way through my 43rd panic attack of the last 24 hours, maybe I should focus on what is good here...I will have more time for my family and friends.  There will be no more scheduling around my night shifts for a family or social life.  Or holidays.  I have worked at jobs since about 1997  that have required me to work holidays.  It will be so awesome not to have to miss out on festivities because of work any more.
I will have more weekdays on which to clean.  I am freeing up 6 weekdays per month for cleaning and that is pretty huge, considering how much Tosha and I can get done in a day.  Hopefully more time for us to work on the side of our business that we currently neglect like marketing, paperwork, other grown up things.  I think I am rubbing off on her in the area of immaturity:)
I can sleep like a normal person.  The girls that I work nights with and I have had many a conversation about how NO MATTER WHAT, your sleep is never good enough when you work nights.  And most of the time, you only allow yourself a few hours of the crappy sleep and that is just so bad for your health.  So bad.  I am certain that an improved level of health and energy will come along with my new schedule, which leads to so many other positive changes like more exercise, more cooking, less snaking on junk food just to stay awake.

While I know that this is a very good decision and the natural progression of things for my business/career, I am nervous about the next few months.  I need to buy a new car and its been years since I have had a car payment.  I have never before had to make health insurance payments.  Its the winter months, so Brad's paychecks are leaner than they are when the weather is nice.  I may have to drink fewer martinis.  They are expensive.  But I am thankful.  I also need to thank my little family for allowing me to participate in my own little experiment of being solely a business owner.  Well, I go back and forth between wanting to thank them, and wanting to take Brad by the shoulders and shake him really hard and scream, "Don't trust me to do this!  We will be homeless by June! Who allows their wife to quit her job when they need a new roof???"  If I did, I'm sure he would just calmly tell me, as usual, that it will all figure itself out and be fine.  

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Brad and I had dinner at Jack and June a few weeks ago before we went to Catching Fire (which was an AWESOME movie).  This is my food.  Maybe its lame to take pictures of your food, but this was a caramelized onion grilled cheese and roasted Brussels sprouts and soft pretzels with blue cheese dipping sauce.  So there.

  In case you're curious about how "Obamacare" is affecting my insurance shopping experience (and since I can't ever resist giving my completely uninformed political opinions), I will say that it seemed shaky at first.  There was not a singe insurance agent who could give us any information for a few months.  And the quotes I got seemed high with very high deductibles.  It was frustrating, but I had a feeling it wouldn't be left at that.  And low and behold, I spoke with my agent just the other day and she said we needed to meet asap, as provisions were being made, policies were getting cheaper, deductibles lower and so on and so forth.  I also had to remind myself that up to this point in my life, my insurance has always just seemed free to me.  It comes out of my paycheck before it ever reaches my pocket and in my limited little brain, that means its free.  I am very confident that The Affordable Care Act will undergo enough revision and tweaking that it will do what it was intended to do, and have little more than the normal rate increase impact on folks who already have insurance by the time all is said and done.  I will be the first to admit it if I'm wrong though.  I do really think we need to give it a year or so and see how things are in 2015.  Rome wasn't built in a day, kids.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#232 Matt Frazier stopped in Lincoln!

On my List of 1,001 Awesome Things To Do Before....list, #232 is to attend a book tour/signing by an author that I love.  I did that!  I intend to do it any time I get the chance, but I think this is the first.  No, not true.  I met Isa Moskowitz at a bake sale in Omaha and she signed my Vegan Cookies cookbook, but that was a few years back, way before I had The List.  Plus, its on the list to meet her again (maybe when she gets her vegan restaurant open?!?)

Matt Frazier writes a blog that I read regularly called The No Meat Athlete and his book, Run on Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self just came out a few weeks ago.  On his book tour, he made a stop at the Lincoln Running Company and Willa and I made sure we could make it!  Matt is an ultramarathon runner who just happens also to be vegan.  He spoke about his training, what he eats, what he wears, goal setting, strength training...all kinds of good stuff!  He was very informative.  I haven't read the whole book yet, but I did just try out one of his recipes (for buffalo hummus) and it was so good.  I don't know why I hadn't thought to put buffalo sauce in hummus before but it was genius.  I am very excited to try the rest of the recipes.  Aside from recipes, there are also training plans for various distances in the book.  A great read for anyone who is thinking of getting into distance running or anyone looking to replace some meat with some healthier options in their diets.  He doesn't get in your face at all about the ethics of a vegan diet, as some vegan writers do.  He makes some good points, for sure, but he also acknowledges that even just a reduction in red meat consumption can make huge positive impacts on your health and your training.  If you're curious, you should check it out!  I'll loan my copy out after I try a few more recipes:)

Monday, October 21, 2013

A goodbye (for now) to Grandma Christensen

I had been working on a post that was fairly whiny and boring the other day about how I am going to quit my job at the hospital and how much of a pain it is to find your own insurance and how much I love my cleaning business and so on and so forth.  I was all set to finish it at work this weekend and then something very sad and very unexpected happened.  Friday evening, my grandmother passed away.  The one that was married to the grandpa that passed away in May.  It was time for them to be together again.  It seemed to happen very quickly, as we had just seen her on the Sunday before and she seemed very happy and able to get around and I wouldn't not have suspected for one second that she wouldn't be around the very next week, which is why I think that truly she is gone because Grandpa just needed her.  She will be missed immensely.  I'm sure most people think their Grandma's are the nicest, sweetest people ever, but mine may really have been.  THE nicest and sweetest.  I wish that Willa had had more time with her Great Grandparents, but I do think that she will have memories of them.  One day, she and I were chatting about ways to keep yourself healthy and strong and I said something about living a long life if you kept yourself healthy.  She pointed out that Great Grandpa lived to be very old and I said yes, that he kept himself very healthy and she said "No, Great Grandma did that for him."  She really summed it up well.  My Grandma was the ultimate caregiver, the epitome of selfless giving.

It has been a tough year for those of us that are left of the Christensen family, and we all miss Uncle Bob, Grandpa and Grandma very much.  I am a person of great faith, but the concept of heaven is very hard for me to grasp.  I think it is just too huge.  Too unknown.  Until now, as I can picture my Grandparents there and I know just what they are doing and how they will welcome me someday.  We will hug and kiss, we will play cards and have freshly squeezed orange juice.  Grandpa will mow his lawn and later we will check out the horse races.  Then, on an especially heavenly evening, there will be a big party with a band and dancing and drinks and love and everything will be right with the world again.  Until then...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

So, school started in August. Weird.

Look!  Its Willa!  And she is repeating preschool!  It must be really sinking in her little melon this time, because she wrote the words "cat" and "bat" the other day.  Then she jumped straight to "Halloween".  No joke.  She said, "Mom, do you know how to spell Halloween?"  I said yes, of course.  And then she proceeded to write it on her little notepad.  I think I almost fell over.  I asked her how on earth she knew how to spell Halloween and she said that Uncle Chris told her once.  Yikes.  Everyone is always telling me how much trouble I'm in with her, since she is already obviously smarter than I am and I think I'm finally starting to understand that.  Needless to say, school is going well.  Although, the stinker really misses her friends that went to kindergarten this year, especially Jerusha.  The other day she even made popscicle stick puppets of Jerusha.  I told her that wasn't AT ALL creepy.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

It was time.

We finally found the perfect dog.  It was a long time comin.  It is just a few days from the 2 year anniversary of Luther's untimely death and lately we have really been craving a dog.  A big dog.  A good dog for our location and for kids.  We've always kind of wanted a lab, so we've been keeping our eyes open but not finding much.  Mostly I check the Humane Society, and if they have labs at all, they are typically older or have a health condition.  So we had really started branching out and looking at other bigger dog breeds, but I think in our hearts, we knew we wanted a lab.  So, dearest friend Tosha tagged me in a Facebook post on the Lincoln Pet Exchange group and that's how we wound up with Chopper.  It hasn't been 24 hours yet, but it seems that we have made a good choice.  He is so sweet and well mannered and soft and charming and brown and has such big paws....and he already loves Willa.  I think they are going to be bestest friends.  Stickers is mad and jealous and hissy/growly, but he will get over it.  Bailey hasn't really come out of her hiding place to meet Chopper yet, but she will.  I did have to leave last night before bed time, so I'm not sure how he did, but I'm going to pretend that he was a perfect angel, and went willingly into his kennel and slept all night there without whining or peeing.  Yep, I'm sure that's how it went.  And, he is going to want to sleep all morning with me, too:)

See?  Only a best friend would share a space this small with you and still love you.