Gratitude week 110

  1. January is over! I’m grateful for this because it means no more bad things can happen in January.
  2. My daughter Angel and her fiancĂ© bought a house. Oh my gosh, my daughter is a home owner. I’m grateful they were able to find something they like and I’m anxious to see what they will do with it.
  3. So, I’m trying to complain and criticize less. A couple nights ago I decided to start the following day. In the wee morning hours, I had to go to the bathroom and sat down only to find the toilet seat was left up. Sometimes I swear God has a sense of humor. I’m grateful for goals, obtainable or not.
  4. Arabella got a job! She had an interview at a sports bar. They asked her if she had experience as a server. She does. They asked her when she could work or what her preferred hours were. When she said evenings and weekends, they hired her on the spot and asked her to come in to train that evening. I’m grateful my daughter found a job and I really hope it goes well for her.
  5. I’m grateful the trade show we had a booth at is over. Kid you not, within the first hour I spilled half my water bottle over our marketing materials. All in all, it was a successful show even though for the most part it was incredibly boring.
  6. I’m grateful for great TV series on cold winter days. I’m grateful for the ability to watch them whenever we want. Gone are the days of having to wait once a week hoping the VCR was set right to record the show over an old VHS tape if we were gone. I’m really aging myself here. But what I’m really trying to say is I absolutely loved watching the first half of the new season of Ozark. I LOVE that show!
  7. I’m starting to think about summer. This past week we planned our summer sailing cruise schedule with our sailing club and also picked a date for Angel’s bridal shower. This will help me get through the rest of the winter, hopefully. Paul and I will also have our 25th wedding anniversary this summer so I’m starting to think about that as well.
  8. Watching the winter Olympics.
  9. I’m looking forward to unwinding tonight with a stiff drink by a roaring fire in our fireplace while watching a funny movie.

Goals for the new year

To be honest, I haven’t done New Year’s resolutions in years. But every couple of months I try to come up with some bucket list goals and check my progress on making them happen.

Today I decided to go back to my first blog post in May of 2015. I wrote a list of goals. Here they are:

  1. Write something that gets published. I’ve wanted to write a memoir for the longest time. I am currently working on the second edition of my book. I hope to complete it in 2022.
  2. Run a marathon. I wrote I ran 18 miles that day without stopping. I am totally jealous of myself! Since then I’ve run multiple marathons and a 50K. I just stopped running after doing it for 15 years. Now I want to focus on stretching and yoga. I mean, I haven’t started yet but I want to try to at least maintain if not gain some flexibility. I have been having joint pain and stiffness but I still want to remain active as much as I am able to.
  3. Travel to all the continents. I haven’t gotten too far on this. I did check off Asia since then. If it wasn’t for COVID, I would’ve checked off Europe and Africa too. Instead I have been trying to visit all 50 states. So far I’ve checked off 39 states. I visited 8 states in 2021 and plan on adding another 5 in 2022.
  4. Read the Bible in a year.
  5. Be a lead singer in a band. I still think this would be fun, but I don’t want to do this as much as I did before. It sounds like a lot of work.
  6. Drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. That one was pretty easy.
  7. Get a tattoo. I got my first tattoo this year of an anchor. I am planning on getting my second tattoo in 2022.

I have some other new goals for 2022. I would like to be more bad ass. Ha ha ha. Actually I want to get my motorcycle license. I picture myself on something loud blaring my rock music as I drive down country roads on sunny summer days.

I would like to get half way done with the remodeling project on our garage apartment. I also have a list of home renovation projects. I would like to cross off half of my list this next year on house projects as well.

I also want to continue growing and working on my self-improvement projects. I want to be more accepting of myself as I age. I have always been a go, go, go person. It’s hard to adjust to being a go, go, go slow person. This coming year will be the first full year that all of my children are adults and out of school. I no longer have parenting commitments. I want some time to just be responsible for me. I want 5 years of not being responsible for others. I will not take on any long term foreign exchange students, foster children, or new pets. I will also keep working on the relationships that are important to me.

That’s about it. See ya next year!

Have a happy, happy new year!!!

Fortune cookie wisdom #38

After a big storm comes tranquility.

I don’t know about you, but after a big storm (or a really stressful period of time) I tend to feel boredom instead of tranquility. I want tranquility, serenity, peacefulness, and relaxation but I usually end up feeling bored and restless watchfully waiting for the next problem. I want tranquility, but I wonder if I would find it satisfying if I ever found it. I almost need some level of stress to function at my best.

Not to mention I have a very low boredom tolerance. Nothing motivates me more than having problems to fix. Maybe I just got used to living under high levels of stress and wouldn’t know how to live without it. Tranquility sounds a tad bit boring. What would be my purpose without struggle?

It’s like telling an anxious person to relax. Maybe some people just aren’t going to relax and that’s just the way they are. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with them. How many tranquil people do you actually know anyway that aren’t hopped up on some sort of drugs?? Hmm, can’t seem to think of any off the top of my head.

Or maybe I just call tranquility boring and push it away because it seems like an unattainable goal. I haven’t gotten there yet. Maybe I would like it if I could reach it somehow. Who’s to say?

One thing I can tell you is that I am getting sick of the big storms.

Little illiterate me

Last night I was catching up on reading some blogs before supper. My friend Ashley at Mental Health @ Home (you should really check out her blog if you haven’t already) posted something about checking your blog to see how easy it is to find and follow. I figured it’s been a couple years, why not? I was appalled with what I found. My theme was gone and there was nothing there but a plain white background. My follow button along with all my archived blog posts were gone as well. I just about died.

Of course it had to happen when I didn’t have hours to fix it. My husband was making homemade pizza and the kids were visiting after supper. Not only that, my search engine had some sort of child safety lock on it which I couldn’t seem to turn off. I was in a horrible mood which spiraled into my total hatred of technology making me sound like a bitter old lady to the twenty agers. Nothing makes me feel older or stupider than not being able to make something work and having to have my kids help me.

It’s my own fault. I should check my blog more often. To me going on my site is as repulsive as watching a video of myself singing, and I am a pretty good singer. It’s a cringeworthy form of torture. So needless to say I didn’t sleep very well last night.

I think for my age my computer literacy is average. I always learned what I needed to know to be able to get by. But quite frankly I’m old school traditional. I have a calendar I keep on the wall to keep track of appointments. I like to read books that are made out of trees. My blog is very basic. I update my profile picture every two years. I have had the same cover photo since I started once I stopped using the theme picture.

I don’t like change. I don’t like useless updates. If something is not broken, why fix it?? Why not stick with the tried and true? Do you really think I care if the search bar is at the top or the bottom of my phone screen? If updated was better that would be one thing. But usually it’s frustrating because I have to learn a new way of doing things after finally figuring out the old way which was a million times better. It’s almost as if they are doing updates just to look good for doing updates.

Thankfully I was able to take the kid friendly setting off my searches. That whole thing was a crock anyway when my kids were young. I had to have my kids set up the parental controls which was useless. I pretended they worked and they pretended they couldn’t get around them.

This morning I updated my blog. I found out my theme was rewritten and that is why I had a blank screen. My archives and follow button were old and inactivated widgets. Everything was just garbage and I was tempted to just delete the whole damn thing. But I figured it out without having to have my children hold my hand. It just drives me crazy though! I have no idea how long it was like that.

Thanks Ashley for prompting me to check out my own blog. Besides being frustrated with my own blog, nothing frustrates me more than wanting to follow a new blog and being unable to because it just isn’t user friendly.

I’ve noticed other glitches too over the last couple weeks. I have somehow unfollowed blogs accidently and sometimes when I like someone’s post it shows up later that I didn’t like it. I also stopped receiving notifications, although it is turned on both on my phone and WP.

I am not as computer literate as I would like to be, but I will keep on trying.

Fortune cookie wisdom #32

Either you can or you can’t. Either way you are right.

I really like the mindset of this fortune cookie. But I think it’s more important to have realistic goals and expectations.

For example, Paul’s step-dad Darryl is having knee surgery in a couple weeks. He said the recovery time for the surgery is 6 weeks. But he said his recovery time will be 3 weeks. I’m concerned he is setting himself up for disappointment.

Sometimes I wish I could do what I wanted without having to be mindful of whether I could do it or not.

If only it was that easy.

Fortune cookie wisdom #26

“Travels from nesting space will take you to a broader cultural horizon.”

My whole life I’ve always been interested in geography and learning about different cultures from my own. Unfortunately like everyone else in the world, COVID put a kibosh on a lot of the travel plans I had in place. I would say it changed things but it has not put an end to things. I’ve explored new areas and cultures closer to home not internationally.

I didn’t travel much as a child. We never went on a family vacation. Thankfully my childhood was pre-internet so I really didn’t know what I was missing. My husband never had the opportunity either. He was 40 years old before he ever stepped onto an airplane.

When we first got married we didn’t have the money to travel. My husband started a business and for a long time it was a one man show. He couldn’t get away. By the time our first wedding anniversary came around we had our first child already. So pretty much we didn’t have the money, we didn’t have anyone to run the business, and we didn’t have anyone to watch the kids. Now we have nothing to keep us from travelling but COVID.

It is on my bucket list to travel to every continent and every US state. I didn’t get very far on the continents yet. For the time being that has been delayed. It’s wonderful to have a husband that loves to travel as much as I do. I find it absolutely fascinating to learn about other cultures. One of the great things about WP is I can learn a lot about other people without even having to leave the house. I like seeing pictures and learning about how other people live. Although I must admit I find it rather funny that I go on vacation and post pictures like it is the most interesting thing in the world but I don’t share a lot about my own culture. Maybe I need to do more of that.

One of the most enjoyable experiences without going anywhere is hosting foreign exchange students. We hosted a student from Japan for a week. We also hosted two foreign exchange students at the same time for the school year. Clara was from Germany and Estelle was from France. I would consider doing it again if my life ever settles down. Although they did come at a bad time but I think we were able to make it a fun experience. It was half way through when everything happened with my dad and Arabella started having mental health problems. Then they got hit with a pandemic at the end. It’s crazy to think I had four teenagers in my house when COVID started.

I couldn’t control what was going on in the world but we did the best we could to make it a positive experience. I loved when the girls would cook dishes from their countries and enjoyed learning about their traditions. It was fun showing them our culture and enjoying our area with someone who was here for the first time. Neither of the girls were used to the amount of snow we get or have ever been ice fishing before they came here. Maybe I should share some of my culture with you although it probably shines through in what I write just like I learn things about where you are from.

I really can’t wait to travel again. But until then I am wrapped in a blanket on the couch learning about your life and writing about mine.

Fortune cookie wisdom #22

“They fail, and they alone, who have not striven.”

I wanted to let you know I pick these fortune cookies randomly from a huge pile of my favorite fortune cookies collected over the past 2 years. I say this because today’s is very similar to the one I shared yesterday. After I share them with you I recycle them. I hope fortune cookies don’t become a thing of the past as I received a comment from my blogging friend LA saying they no longer give out fortune cookies at restaurants in NYC.

I absolutely love this fortune. It basically tells us we are successful if we try. I don’t need to have a million followers to enjoy blogging and telling my story. I don’t have to write a bestselling book although that would be quite the achievement. I can only fail if I don’t try. It’s really a great way to look at things.

This morning I went out for a run. I typically go four miles three times a week. Half of it I walk and half I run. You might think that’s amazing for someone of my age (47). I do not. I spent almost the whole time thinking about running and what my goals are. Honestly I am thinking about quitting or seriously cutting back after the race at the end of the month.

I have been running for the past 15 years. I think the first race I did was a 10k. I really can’t remember. I wish I kept track and wrote things down but I wasn’t writing anything at all at that time of my life. I got pretty good at running. It was nothing for me to run 10 miles without stopping. I could finish all races up to a half marathon in the top 10% of my age group. It wasn’t unusual for me to place in small town races. I devoted a lot of my time to running to get that good. I was well known on the neighborhood streets and the gym.

But that wasn’t enough, I wanted more. It made me feel alive. It was exciting. Exercise is a great way to burn off anxiety and a wonderfully healthy coping mechanism. I started doing marathons and did a 50k. I thought maybe I would qualify for the Boston marathon but I could never manage running the whole race. But that was okay, I just enjoyed the challenge.

Over a period of almost 10 years I worked my way up to running a marathon. It took a tremendous amount of dedication. It involved waking up early on Saturday mornings. Long lunch breaks. Running long boring miles on a treadmill. Getting caught in storms. Almost getting hit by cars. Getting attacked by dogs, bugs, and birds. Feeling afraid in secluded places. City streets. Remote trails. Getting injured, blistered, and chafed. Having to go to the bathroom really bad when there wasn’t one in sight. Wearing out expensive running shoes. Sweating. Freezing. Running friends. The endless search for upbeat playlists. Trying to beat my time. Travelling. Planning around weather. Competing. I loved it all until I didn’t anymore.

Then the pandemic hit. The 50k race I was planning to compete in got cancelled. My gym closed. Cold wintry weather. But the worst thing that happened was having colitis. I was incredibly sick for 10 days. I was so weak for a month after I could barely even walk. I had a hard time putting the clothes from the wash machine into the dryer without feeling exhausted. It was in that sweeping moment that I lost everything I painstakingly built over the previous ten plus years. I lost almost all of my stamina and endurance. I never was able to get it back which frustrated me. Running just reminds me of what I once had.

Now I have to face that my run might be over. My best days are behind me. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the old and let something new begin. Part of me feels like a failure for giving up. But I am probably the only one that feels this way about me. I’ve always wanted to keep active my whole life. I achieved that goal. Now might be a great time to try other things I’m interested in like yoga or martial arts. When all else fails I’ll probably be the old lady that walks around the block a few times…

I can only fail if I don’t try, right??

Fortune cookie wisdom #21

“You will conquer obstacles to achieve success.”

It’s been over two years since I shared my little nuggets of fortune cookie wisdom with you. I feel life has finally settled down enough to give you a little of the light and fluffy that I promised months ago and didn’t deliver on.

I’ve always had a fascination with fortune cookies, not necessarily because I believe every word is true, but because they are interesting. It seems like my husband always gets the over the top wonderful ones, so if I ever share one of those, it’s probably his. For example, the last time my husband and I got fortune cookies I got an unmemorable recyclable fortune. My husband cracked open his cookie and inside were 3 fortunes (three!!!) telling him how wonderful he is. True story.

When I was a teenager I got a fortune cookie without a fortune. What did that mean? That I didn’t have a future? Yet here I am. I think it is extremely rare to not receive a fortune and not in a lucky way. Just like it is rare to receive 3 fortunes in one cookie. Paul is so lucky. After all, he does have me.

But back to the cookie, it does seem like success is sweeter if you have to overcome a lot to achieve it. Would you rather be given something or have to work hard to achieve success? It just doesn’t seem to mean much if life is too easy. It would be boring without something to strive for.

The words conquer, obstacles, and achieve mean a lot to me. For the longest time, I found this in running. I started with a 10k and ended with a 50k. I achieved a lot of medals. I still run and have shared the love of running with my daughter Angel. We are going to run a 5 mile race along with my husband later this month. It almost means more now watching Angel reach her goals.

Time changes people. I don’t want piles of medals anymore. I want to write a bestseller. I want to run a successful business. I want to grow as a person. I want a stronger marriage. I want to travel the world. There are a lot of obstacles in the way of achieving success in these areas. But I still want to try…

You can’t get to the top of the mountain without starting to climb. I have conquered obstacles to achieve success and I don’t want to stop now even if I have to start all over.

Just a one time thing?

When you get admitted into a psychiatric hospital, they do bloodwork to determine if there are any health issues that could be causing mental health issues. Arabella’s vitamin D levels were really low and they also found a thyroid disorder. She has hypothyroidism which could explain some of her issues in losing weight and depression. In my mind, it was as easy as fixing those problems and she would be back to her normal self again. If only it were that easy!

They also put Arabella on a low dose of an anti-depressant and a mood stabilizer. The mood stabilizer was meant to be a temporary boost to increase the effectiveness of the anti-depressant. She stayed in the hospital for a week. I really thought this was going to be a one time thing. Once her health problems were fixed, her mental health problems would go away. Or so I thought. We weren’t dealing with complex trauma since she had a relatively normal upbringing. Why couldn’t she just go back to being how she was?

When it was time for Arabella to leave, Paul and I met with her treatment team. They thought it would be a good idea for Arabella to have goals to work towards. The first time around they had a reward based system. Once she reached those treatment goals, her dad bought her a pet frog. I was a little more hesitant about the idea since I ended up being the one that took care of her beta fish.

Arabella was going to be attending an outpatient program for at least a week. She didn’t like her current therapist outside of the hospital, so we were going to be switching to a third therapist. She was also on a waiting list for a psychiatrist. She received the diagnosis of Major Depression with Anxiety.

In the meantime, Arabella had a meeting with our family doctor. The hospital requires an appointment be set up a couple weeks after discharge. The doctor retested Arabella’s blood levels and refilled her psychiatric medication but didn’t want to change anything. We also set up a consultation with a plastic surgeon for breast reduction surgery. She was having back pain and was uncomfortable with her body in general.

I started working full-time and her dad was working a lot of hours as well. I worried about Arabella when we were at work. If anything, I was a little less reluctant when she wanted to go right back to Jordan’s house. Arabella started to feel fearful at our house and was afraid she was going to hurt herself when she was home alone. Jordan’s older brother moved out to go to college, so they had an extra bedroom and invited her to move in. The school was over a half an hour from our house and a couple blocks from theirs. It was comforting to know that she had somewhere to go if the roads were bad in the winter, but we didn’t want her to live there.

Arabella couldn’t stand us anymore, but we still wanted her here.

Gratitude week 58

  1. While it was really wonderful to get away. I’m grateful to be back home again.
  2. I checked another 4 states off my bucket list. Only 14 states and 5 continents to visit before I kick the bucket.
  3. Talking about kicking the bucket, our dog is feeling 100% better so we didn’t have to put him down. I don’t know, maybe it was the fried eggs. LOL! I’m grateful for more time with him.
  4. My son is moving out this weekend with a couple of friends into our partially finished garage. My husband’s office is out in our detached garage now which will be moved into our son’s bedroom. The garage already has two finished bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a partial kitchen. We are going to use the money we charge for rent to finish remodeling the garage apartment. I’m getting excited about the remodeling project and also thinking of ways to update our house.
  5. We ended up getting a lot of snow a couple days ago and now it is bitterly cold, but it is absolutely beautiful outside. Even though I complain, I am grateful for very distinct seasons. When we were on vacation it was anywhere between 45 and 75 degrees. I don’t know if I would like a cool winter without snow. It was funny because a news station in New Orleans was talking about the cold Wisconsin weather while we were there. There is some pride in being a hardy people, plus our summers are absolutely perfect.
  6. Arabella is making a lot of progress on her online schooling which is wonderful. I was kind of worried about if she would be able to graduate on time.
  7. I’m always grateful for a warm house to live in on a brutally cold winter day.
  8. I’m grateful to be back in planning mode. I’m thinking about the next trip I want to take, getting ready for summer, and hopefully a graduation party as long as things wind down with COVID.
  9. I think the next couple months are going to bring a lot of changes. I felt very apprehensive about things because I really don’t like change. But sometimes change can be good. In the next couple months all my children will be adults and although I do worry a lot about my kids I feel like a lot of responsibility will be lifted. Technically I could go from 3 kids living at home to being an empty nester. Instead of viewing this as a negative thing I can view it as an opportunity to grow like I haven’t been able to before because I always had to be responsible for someone else besides me.
  10. I am grateful for my husband who has been putting a lot of hours in since we got home to keep things running around here.