Time for me to fly

“Time for me to fly
And that’s just how it’s got to be
I know it hurts to say goodbye
But it’s time for me to fly”

time for me to fly

 

As I pulled into the parking lot of Vital Fit Club today, this was the song playing on the radio. I had to Soundhound it and then screenshot my phone because it was just too perfect.

OK, I realize this song is about a relationship and really not exactly fitting, but part of the chorus (posted above) fits for today.

I taught my last group fitness class at Vital Fit Club today. And ironically, two years ago to the day is when I started working at the club.

We never know where life is going to take us, but sometimes, as much as it can hurt, it’s time for us to fly.

I will miss Vital, especially the members. I formed some wonderful friendships the last two years and I couldn’t ask for anymore than that.

last class

Pic: Thanks to everyone who attended my last class – you made my day. And thanks, Wayne, for the treats! (Again.) 

I know Jon, Heather, Kayla and the rest of the crew really don’t need me. They can move forward, move on without me. They were fine before I got there and they are gonna be just fine now that I am gone. (That’s what I have to keep telling myself to make it easier!)

I learned a lot the last two years and for that I am thankful. I won’t forget my time at Vital. I won’t forget the people. There are many that I am going to miss tremendously. The members made every day more enjoyable. They are an incredible group of people.

Technically, I guess, I am not officially done because I still have personal training clients I am working with. But that will soon come to an end. And as much as I will miss all of those who attended my morning classes and my noon classes, and let me tell you, I am going to miss them. But, when working one-on-one with people, you form a different bond. I am so incredibly proud of all of my clients I worked with.

And, I am still looking forward to my early mornings with my summer bootcamp crew. We’re not done yet either.

As to what the future will hold, I know I am not done teaching. I’m guessing I will again. It may be time to fly, but sometimes you have to soar to new heights!

breathe

Pic: BREATHE! Anyone who attended my classes knows this is definitely my mantra. 

plan

Pic: Love this quote and it fits so perfectly! 

present from vital

Thank you, Kayla, for making this gift! And thank you to EVERYONE who signed it. I will treasure it always.

My marriage

“The simple pleasures are the best! You guys clearly get that!”

This was a comment left on a post I made on Facebook this morning. (Thanks, Mr. Carney!) And, it couldn’t be any more true. Al and I get it. I feel the need to share about our relationship to help people better understand us. Not sure why I feel this need, but I do.

Let’s begin.

Al and I started dating in March of 2004. We had both had some not-so-hot relationships. I had been married twice. Yes, twice. Al was engaged twice. Yes, twice. We took it slow. Plus, a big factor in our relationship at that time was that he was my boss. Yep, he was the editor of the paper and I was one of the reporters. Here’s a fun fact…Al had actually attended my second wedding. And no, he WAS NOT the reason my marriage failed. Al had absolutely nothing to do with my divorce. He was, however, my sounding board while I was going through my divorce. I can’t tell you how many times I went to him – talking, crying, complaining, crying, asking for advice, crying, etc. He was always there to listen to me. And, vice versa. He was also going through a rocky relationship at the time (not with anyone he was engaged to) and I was there to listen to him and offer him advice. We became the best of friends.

When I made the decision to get divorced, Al helped me find an apartment and also helped me move in when I found a place. I moved in January 1 of 2004. And it so happened the place I moved into was two apartment buildings down from him. He lived in building one and I lived in building three. On the weekends I didn’t have my son, Al and I would spend a lot of time together. We would go to St. Cloud and sit for hours at a time at Barnes and Noble. We would go out to eat. We would go to Brainerd with some friends of ours. We shared everything. He knows my WHOLE story and I know his. We got close. We talked about dating but once again, he was my boss. We didn’t know how that work.

Well, eventually, we couldn’t stop the inevitable. We started dating. I honestly believe that both of us knew this was going to happen, even though we tried not to let it. But, when two people are meant to be, there are truly meant to be. And I mean that in all sincerity. I know it is cliché, but I know deep in my soul that Al and I meant for each other. Yes, I know it is another cliché, but we are truly soulmates. 100 percent.

lobsgter claw

We love food and sometimes, you just have to play with your food!

being goofy

Sometimes, we love to be goofy and yes, occasionally, we even dress alike! 

There were people who thought it was wrong for us to be together. There were people who thought we wouldn’t last. There were people who were shocked that we were a couple. And then there were people, like us, who knew we were perfect for one another. That we were meant to be.

I am so happy for those people.

Let me tell you about our relationship. It’s quite unique and very rare in this day and age.

But first I have to tell you something else. I am happy for my first two marriages. I learned from both of them. I am thankful to Rod, my first husband and my son’s dad. Without him, I wouldn’t have Brandon. He is a great guy and he still holds a very special place in my heart. We were just not meant for each other. And I think we both knew that and accepted it. He is still a very big part of my life and I am grateful for that. I love the relationship he has with Brandon and I couldn’t have asked for a better dad for my son. They have such a bond. Truly, I have to admit that sometimes, I am jealous about it. Their relationship is awesome and I thank Rod for putting in the effort to make it what it is. Not all dads do that and I am blessed that Brandon’s dad did. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great relationship with my son. I love it. He just has a deeper, unique bond with Rod. He’s one lucky kid.

As for the second marriage, I am also grateful for it. It taught be who I didn’t want to be. I no longer speak to my second husband. We have no reason to. And that is completely fine with me. Again, he was a great guy. We just were definitely not meant to be. I learned so much from that relationship – mostly about myself. And I am thankful it happened. I have no regrets.

Now, let me get back to my relationship with Al, the love of my life.

picnic at inspiration peak

Having picnics is one of our FAVORITE things to do. 

shoveling snow

We even make shoveling snow fun!

monkey love cookie

This describes us to a tee! Monkey Love – that’s what we share. 

Here are some things you may not know:

  1. We DO NOT fight. Ever. Yes, we might disagree on something, but we don’t raise our voices, we don’t get mad. In the 12 and a half years we have been together, I think we have had two fights. Maybe. We truly are on the same page. We know what comprise is. We know what COMMUNICATING is. We have nothing to argue about. And I mean that. We just don’t fight.
  2. We not only are madly in love with each other – yes, still to this day – but we actually truly like each other and I feel that is so important. We care about each other. We put each other first. We put each other up on a pedestal. Always. Every. Single. Day.
  3. We actually like hanging out. Wait, let me rephrase that. WE LOVE HANGING OUT – together, just the two of us. We thoroughly enjoy spending time together. Yes, even though we now are working together again, we still LOVE spending time together after work and on weekends. To be 100 percent completely honest, that is our favorite thing to do. Just be with each other. Not that we don’t like hanging out with other people, we do. And we always have fun. But it’s just we would much rather have it be just us. I know, it’s weird. Again, we do enjoy time spent with family and friends. We have fun. And we will make time for family and friends, but not all the time. I know sometimes my friends get annoyed with me because I will only do stuff if I know Al isn’t going to be home. But, I miss him when we are apart. And, vice versa. People may find this disturbing or silly or gross or whatever it is they feel, but it is so hard to explain to people. Most relationships are not like ours. Husbands love being away from their wives. Wives love time away from their husbands. We don’t. Are we weird? Maybe. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
  4. We live for our Saturday night date nights. It is our favorite thing to do. It never gets old. It never gets boring. NEVER.
  5. We talk about everything. We share everything. We get each other. Sometimes, we know exactly what the other person is thinking. Sometimes, we read each other’s minds. For instance, the other day, I was scrolling through pictures and saw a picture of some lasagna roll-ups we had awhile back and thought about telling Al he should make those for supper some night. I never told him. I didn’t say a word to him. When I came home from work, guess what Al had made for supper? Yep, you guessed it. Lasagna roll-ups. I have to admit, it kind of weirded us out, but yet, stuff like that happens. All. The. Time.

There is so much more I could share, but by now, you are all probably gagging at our relationship. I know there are some who are.

My wish for every woman out there? To find your one true love. You may have to go through several “frogs” before you find your “prince” but it can happen. It does happen. It happened to me. I honestly don’t know what I would do without Al. He understands me. I understand him.

We are a team. We work together. We make time for each other. We communicate with one another. We compromise. We utterly love each other from the deepest depths of our souls. We are us – in all our sugary, lovey-dovey, sickeningly sweet marriage glory…take it or leave it!

mudbath

Yep, this is a mud bath!

elevator shot

Having fun in the elevator. Yes, I “make” him take LOTS of photos. LOTS! 

book

This is a book I received one Valentine’s Day. Inside, Al had to fill in all the pages. It was one of the most thoughtful presents I have ever received. I have received some of THE MOST thoughtful presents from him. And most often, it’s not anything expensive. But every time, it comes from the heart and are meaningful. I love every single present I have received – from the fruit to the flowers to the chocolates and the coffee and everything in between. 

book date night

This is a page out of the book. LOVE IT!

shadows

We take LOTS of walks and sometimes, they are late at night after we’ve had a glass or two of wine. I have LOTS of shadow pics under street lights around our neighborhood. 

us 2

This is from our five-year wedding anniversary and will always be my FAVORITE picture of us. 

winter walking

Even in the freezing cold winter we go for walks around the neighborhood late at night. And we ALWAYS have fun. 

Big change ahead!

changes are coming

It looks like I am going full circle. And as sad as I am, I am just as happy.

My last day working the front desk at Vital Fit Club will be Friday, August 12. My first day as a full-time reporter with the Echo Press newspaper – a position I held from May of 1999 through February of 2011 – will be Monday, August 15.

vital logoecho

It is always bittersweet to leave one job and start a new one, but my time with Vital Fit Club isn’t completely finished. I will continue teaching classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon through the end of August. I will continue with my summer bootcamp, which is starting tomorrow! And, I will finish out my sessions with my personal training clients (so those of you who I am currently working with, don’t fret!).

For the last two months, I was working part-time at the newspaper and I realized just how much I really truly missed being a reporter. When I left that position five years ago, I have to admit, it was a decision I often regretted. I have always felt a connection to the newspaper. I love writing. I love informing the public of the things happening in their community. I love making connections with people, hearing their stories; then sharing their stories in written words. I love community journalism. Is it always fun? No, it’s not. There are the awful things, the car crashes, the fires, the court cases. But, as with any job, you take the good with the bad. As excited as I am about being a newspaper reporter again, I am sad to say goodbye to my family at Vital.

Jon, Heather, Kayla, Cassie, Lisa, Dylan…I will miss you all like crazy. Jon and Heather took a chance on me and I can’t thank them enough for EVERYTHING they did for me. I have been a part of the Vital Fit Club family for nearly two years. WHOA! Time flies when you are having fun. And let me tell you, I had fun. The connections I made with our members is indescribable. The friendships and bonds I have made mean so much to me. I hope those friendships will continue. I have met some incredibly awesome people because of Vital. I would love to name some of them, but I really don’t want to leave anyone out. Those who I truly connected with know who they are and I will miss them even more than they will ever know.

BUT…I am not moving away. And, you can always find me on Facebook. Or, feel free to connect with me via email, I would love to hear from you (celbeam@gmail.com).

I am looking forward to my next new (well, not really new!) adventure. The Echo Press really feels like home to me and I have to say, it’s going to be good to be back home again!

Say what?

We never really know what is in store for us, do we? We never really know what the future holds.

For nearly the past two years, I have been happily – VERY happily – working at Vital Fit Club in Alexandria. I work the front desk, teach group fitness classes, personal train and apparently am the assistant manager, although to be honest, there wasn’t much for me to manage. There is a very capable manager who didn’t really need any help at all. Honestly, it was an honor just to have that title, although it truly didn’t mean much.

I love the atmosphere there. I love the people – the members, who I work for and who I work with. I love what I do. Yep, even though sometimes, I have to clean the men’s locker rooms. No job is perfect, right? But seriously, I love it.

But sometimes, opportunities come knocking at your door. Even though, you weren’t necessarily looking to invite them in. Nor, were you actively seeking them out. Opportunities can sometimes just show up, uninvited.

Let’s back up just a bit…to February of 2011. February 4th of 2011 to be exact. That was the last day I worked as a reporter for the Echo Press Newspaper. I had worked as a reporter since May of 1999. May 17, 1999 to be exact. Yes, for some reason, I remember my start and end date at the newspaper.

My decision to leave the newspaper was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made. Even though I was beginning a new adventure, there was a part of me that always regretted that decision. I loved being a reporter. I truly did. But, an opportunity came a knocking and I took it. Again, I was not actively seeking any other opportunities at the time. An opportunity just showed up and I took it. I left the paper to work as a leader for Weight Watchers. I truly loved working for Weight Watchers. It was a very rewarding job. I didn’t however love all the miles I was logging, especially in the winter. I am definitely not a fan of winter driving.

I worked for Weight Watchers until the end of December in 2014. At that time, I was already working at Vital Fit Club. I actually started working there September 2 of 2014. Again, I was presented with an opportunity and this time, I jumped at it. It was a very roundabout way of how I got the job, but the stars aligned just perfectly and as the saying goes, everything happens for a reason. I attended an event that was led by the owner of Vital, Heather Godfrey, whom I had never met before. Heather is an INCREDIBLE person and has done so much for me. I can’t even begin to thank her for helping me along the journey I have taken the past two years.

It has been an unbelievable ride.

Let’s back up to about three weeks ago. My hubby and I were talking about the newspaper, as we regularly do. Oftentimes, when I talk about the Echo Press, I talk about as if I still work there. My hubby is the news editor there so I still have an attachment. Plus, I was a reporter there for TWELVE years. And loved nearly every minute of it. Anyway, I have a connection to the Echo. Well, turns out one of the reporters quit AND most recently, the editor gave her notice. That leaves two holes to fill in the news department.

To make a kind of long story not quite so long, I was asked if I would consider coming back to the paper to help out. I think at first, it was not necessarily serious, but yet it kind of was. At any rate, I ended up talking with the publisher and within a couple of days, I was making changes to my schedule to try and fit in a few hours at the paper. The gym was willing to work with me and let me have the opportunity to work at the paper. Because of a little bit of miscommunication on my part, my hours were reduced a little more than expected at the gym. So now, I guess will be working a little more at the paper than first expected.

For my faithful class attendees, DON’T FRET, I am still teaching all of my classes. In fact, I am adding a couple more (more about that at a later date). And, I will still be keeping my personal training clients. In addition, I will still be working a few hours (about eight and half per week) at the front desk, so I won’t be completely out of the loop. I will still get to see everyone’s smiling faces.

So, now you know. Yes, I am going back to work at the Echo Press as a news reporter. Plus, I will still be working at Vital Fit Club. I’ll be working both jobs…for now.

I am excited, nervous and happy. I think I am going to have the best of both worlds! I guess it is true what they say, you never know what life has in store for you!

echo press

The Echo Press is a Forum Communications property.

There is more to my mom’s story

April 14, 2016 my mom was transferred to the Senior Care Unit at the Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia. This is a geriatric behavioral health unit. At that time, we didn’t know what was really going on. Fast forward a little and we learned that my mom was suffering from Dementia.

You can read more about what has been happening by clicking HERE and reading a post from April 26.

Initially, we didn’t visit. We were told that it would be a good idea to let my mom get settled in and let them figure out what was wrong with my mom. My sister and I did go and visit, but we didn’t actually see my mom. Instead, we talked with the social worker and the head nurse. We left feeling confident that our mom was in the right place. We got good vibes. It was hard not to see her, but honestly, I wasn’t sure how I would handle it. She wasn’t herself, so to speak. Dementia has apparently taken over her brain and there was/is little left of the mom we knew.

But, we felt good about where she was at and who was taking care of her.

mom

(This photo was taken on Mother’s Day)

Over the course of the next few weeks, I spoke with the social worker on a regular basis. I called just about every day and talked with whichever nurse was on duty that day and talked about my mom – how she was doing, if there was any improvement, etc. I even talked to my mom several times on the phone. Not that much of what we talked about made sense because of the Dementia. But we still talked. She seemed happy. The social worker was great about emailing me and the line of communication was open and good. I never felt uneasy. About anything.

Two of my brothers went to visit my mom at the end of April. They didn’t have too much to say about the visit, other than it was interesting. They felt a little uneasy, but no real “red flags” came up.

FAST FORWARD.

On Sunday, May 8 – Mother’s Day – we – my sister, Karen, and I – decided we would go and visit our mom. And this is where things get a little interesting.

I called that morning and talked to a nurse. I asked how my mom was doing and how her night was, typical of my conversations with the nursing staff. We talked for a little bit; I was told that “she’s kind of handful,” when referring to my mom’s behavior. I knew that. I apologized – this is not the first time I’ve said I am sorry. The reason I feel obligated to apologize is because my mom’s behavior is not “normal” – it is eccentric, I guess. She can be loud. She uses colorful language at times. She’s needy and demanding. Her delusions are grand and at times, a bit odd. But, this is NOT my mom. It is THE disease. I apologize because they don’t get to know the real Leona. They don’t know who my mom really is. All they deal with is the diseased version of my mom. For that, I apologize. I feel bad for them that they only see that side of her; the Dementia side.

Keep in mind, that I realize it is their job. They chose their profession. They chose to work with people who have mental disabilities. I shouldn’t apologize nor should I feel like I have to apologize, but I do. I truly feel bad that they don’t get to know the person she really was.

They don’t get to see the happy, bubbly, friendly, helpful, spunky, religioius, loving, talented, fun, charismatic, musical and all around genuine human being that she is.

mom fishing

mom and santa

mom on horse

mom and me 2

Back to the phone call. I talked with the nurse for several minutes – betwen five and 10. I finally mentioned that my sister and I were coming for a visit. Immediately, she asked, “What time?” I was taken aback by this question because we were told visiting hours were from 3:30 to 5 p.m. seven days a week. I didn’t think we had a choice. I answered back, “Around 3:30.” She replied, “Oh. Well, I should probably tell you that your mom fell last night.” I asked if she was okay, to which she replied, “Yes.” I was a little shocked that I wasn’t contacted by a staff member informing me of this information and that it wasn’t until I said we were coming for a visit that I was told about the fall.

I kind of blew it off. I told my sister about the conversation though.

Well, my sister and I arrived at the facility shortly after 3:30 p.m. What happened after that was not at all what we expected. Yesterday, Friday, May 13, my sister posted on her Facebook page about the incident. Here is her account of what happened:

“Sorry that this post is so long, but I am so pissed off right now, I hope some of you will take the time to read it. I wasn’t planning to post any of this, but I changed my mind after talking to my sister.
Last Sunday my sister and I went to visit our mom in Onamia. She has been in the behavioral health unit for awhile now. Celeste had called that morning to see how mom’s day was going, and was told that mom had fallen during the night, and was now considered a fall risk. And as such, would need assistance to walk without a wheelchair. When we got there, a large man (side note from me – I am not sure if he was a nurse or an aide) and another aide let us into the locked unit. When we told them we were there to see my mom, they exchanged looks that both Celeste and I thought were suspicious. They mentioned that mom was quite a handful, and that since she was a fall risk, they had put mats on the floor for her to lay on. When we entered her room, we found her face down on the floor, with her head on a mat. The male lifted mom into a wheelchair without using a gate belt, even though I asked him twice to use one. (side note from me – the male and another person, a woman helped my mom into the wheelchair without lifting her properly) When mom asked to use the bathroom, the aide told us that mom could walk to the bathroom herself, even though we had been told that she needed assistance. He went on to say that when she fell, they thought mom had put herself on the floor and then said she had fallen, so they thought she was faking it. After mom finished in the bathroom, Celeste and I helped mom get her pants up, and we noticed bruises. One large one on her upper thigh, one large one on her forearm, and several small ones on her upper arm that resembled finger tips. Both Celeste and I were heartbroken to have to leave her there, and the next morning I sent an email to the social worker there, demanding copies of incident reports explaining the bruises her fall and the reasons behind not using a gate belt. I also sent the pictures of the bruises. Later, I got a phone call from HR saying that they were launching a thorough investigation and that the aide (the male)  from Sunday had been suspended until the investigation was complete. I also made a report to the state, and was told by HR that they had also reported to the state. Yesterday, mom was transferred to acute care in the hospital after exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia, which was later ruled out. So today, when Celeste went to visit her, they talked to her about discharging mom back to the behavioral health side. Celeste said no, she didn’t want mom back there, so the hospital agreed to keep her until she could be discharged to the adult foster home Celeste had found for her. When Celeste went to get mom’s things from the behavioral health side, she was shocked to see the male working. The one that we were told had been suspended. So I am pissed, to say the least. We trusted the higher ups to look out for our mother, and now we feel like we weren’t even taken seriously. So I don’t feel bad at all telling people about this experience. Maybe it will open the eyes of other care givers, and maybe the state will see that this guy get suspended, or better yet, fired, until the investigation is complete.”

I am so proud of my sister for writing this. We were heartbroken and angered, to say the least. The way the male talked to us, how he treated our mom in front of us was uncalled for. He not only disrespected us, he disrespected our mom and didn’t treat her like the decent human being she is. It is not her fault how she acts. It is the disease that has taken over her brain.

At any rate, we know now that our mom is not going back there. I spoke with the social worker yesterday and the head nurse and they were both geniunely apologetic about the incident and asked if we would reconsider bringing our mom back. They feel they can help our mom. They said they have not had anything like this happen and that the senior care unit is one of the top-rated in the state. And they might be. But we, myself and my siblings, all agree that we don’t want our mom back there. We just don’t feel comfortable with it. I do have to state that we also understand that elderly people bruise easily. We get that. We understand that. But it goes beyond the bruises. It goes to treating our mother like a human being – with care, dignity and respect. I don’t think that is too much to ask. Do you?

inside left arm

back of left arm

right outer leg

NOTE: The facility is under investigation. My sister, who is a mandated reporter, reported it to the state. They are investigating.

Mandated reporters are professionals or professional’s delegate identified by law who MUST make a report if they have reason to believe that the abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult has occurred.