Gratitude week 16

  1.  I created an Instagram account that I can use to stay in touch with Clara.
  2.  I have been sleeping a lot better which greatly improves my mood.
  3.  I helped Paul shave his head. What better time to try out a new look?
  4.  I was able to de-clutter some of my house which always feels good.
  5.  All of my family members are healthy and safe.
  6.  I am finally off of the antibiotics.
  7.  This whole virus thing coupled with a resurge of winter is forcing me to change. I can no longer hold onto structure, work, exercise, and routine addiction. It is painful to go without it but sometimes growth hurts. I am so bored that maybe I will try a new way of doing things that I wouldn’t have otherwise done if not forced.
  8.  Maybe it’s time to slow down and let go. Maybe life is more than tasks, goals, bucket lists, and achievements.
  9.  Now is the time to redefine purpose and meaning.
  10.  I feel motivated to write with even more truth. Maybe now would be a good time to start working on the second edition of my book.

A house plant for not being a wall flower

I’m not going to lie to you. Sometimes life can be a drag when you are responsibly adulting.

I feel like my life consists of problems at work followed by problems at home mixed in with laundry and household chores.

It’s a difficult time of year for me. The sailboat is snuggling under tarps on the shore. Hot summertime breezes and swimming at sandy beaches are put away until next year. I have to face the treadmill again. I haven’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when. Gone are the weekends at the cabin up north. The things I love the most have been taken away in preparation of a cold dark winter.

That is why it is so important to take whatever joy you can find.

I was excited to go to a friend’s Halloween party this past weekend. At the wedding of my BFF’s son, a stranger came up to me and said that I look like Marilyn Monroe. Now granted, the guy was pretty drunk and probably couldn’t see straight. It was then that I decided to pull my Marilyn Monroe costume out of storage for the party. Once I did, I noticed the white dress had brown spots all over it. I threw it in the wash, hoping that the stains would come out.

I decided if the dress did not get clean in the wash, I would buy fake blood and smear myself in dirt to become zombie Marilyn Monroe. I was almost more excited about that idea, but the stains came out.

That night I left my worries (demons, responsibilities…) behind. I drank some home brew, sat by the campfire, played games, danced…all the regular house party stuff…and I totally let my guard down.

The next day I realized that the night before I thought it would be a good idea (as a black thumb) to give a home to a 6 ft tall half dead tropical plant. Oh, what did I do??

No more parties for me I guess. Just a cold sober changing of the seasons and a tropical house plant to remind me of the things I don’t have, summer.

 

Moving on, part 2

It started a few years ago…the unrest in my house. My daughters shared a bunk bed in a small bedroom.

It was funny, my daughter was the only one to tour the college dorm rooms on campus and think they were big. She got a lot of strange looks.

After her first year of college and living with us over the summer, my daughter Angel said that she wasn’t going to come home anymore if she had to share a room with her sister.

We thought about moving over the years. It would be nice to have more room. Sharing a room wasn’t so bad when the girls were little. It became harder as they became teenagers. There was a lot of fighting. One was messy, the other was a clean freak. One liked silence to fall asleep, the other liked noise. One liked complete darkness, the other wanted a night light. We had to create a shower chart so the kids wouldn’t fight about that either.

We live in tight quarters. But we were able to live affordably. Our mortgage payment is only $500 a month. Some of you pay a lot more than that for a small apartment. Most of our furniture that we have now is from long deceased relatives…recliners, end tables, love seat, couch, TV, dresser, lamps, pictures on the wall, chairs…free. We bought a hutch and entertainment center from other relatives…cheap. We bought our kitchen table from a rummage sale…cheap. But it is all paid for.

We are moving into a house that will be 85% furnished. Good-bye to all of our old crap! I will miss it, though, even if it is all old and falling apart. I will miss the memories of my grandparents. I will miss seeing the trees that my grandma helped lovingly plant in my backyard. My grandparents are long gone now and won’t have any connection to my new house.

We’ve lived in our house over 18 years. We lived here longer than we lived in our childhood homes. Even though we are moving into our dream house, it is going to be hard to say good-bye. This is the house we raised our children in.

We are the second longest residing family living on our block. I remember when the subdivision across the street was a field.

I’ve been running the same route around my house for a decade now. I know how to avoid dogs. I developed a long standing regular routine.

We’ve always had good neighbors. People know us here.

I know the patterns on our street. I recognize the noises. I could find my way around in the dark.

Now we are being uprooted and everything is going to change. We are moving into unknown territory…a new community.

My daughter will be going to a new school. She is nervous about fitting in. Although not popular, Arabella is friendly and likable. As the school year is winding down, I find myself sad to be ripping her away from all of her friends that she has known forever. I am misty eyed about last concerts or team events.

Arabella is very excited to go to a new school. It takes away some of my fears. She will be going to one of the best public schools in the area. She knows some kids that go there already. I signed her up to take the classroom driver’s ed class this summer in hopes that she will make some new friends before school starts. Her old friends won’t be that far away.

My son is going to finish his senior year at the school he is at now. We will still attend the same church. Some things will remain the same, although it will be a longer drive.

I will miss my house. We made a lot of memories here.

I am very excited about the move, but change has always been a little scary for me.

Sometimes, though, change can be good.

Fights with myself

Using my strength to fight my weakness has become a double edged sword right in the gut.

After yesterday, I thought I would have to call the doctor today. This has been the worst GERD episode that I have had in awhile. I know that it was stress related. The stress has been eating me alive lately despite the double dose of Prilosec the doctor prescribed me. That and a strong family history of ulcers and stomach issues probably doesn’t help.

Parenting teenagers has been difficult lately. Things have gotten better since we last spoke. My daughter is being more respectful. Life has been difficult for us all lately.

The situation with my son has gotten better too..Now instead of driving across the state with a car full of teens, my son decided to spend the weekend at home studying. While this may look good to you on paper(?), my son is working on a science project for the school science fair that involves doing an experiment on sleep. The kids are going to stay up for 24 hours and do testing every hour. This experiment is going to be done at my house. So, might as well just add me to the study. I almost wish now that he packed the car up with all of his friends (even the boy that rides in the trunk) and drove across the state.

Do you think he is trying to get back at me for not letting him go??

Then add in my mother-in-law being in the final stages of cancer, I have been stressed to the max.

I figured I wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors if I land myself in the hospital with an ulcer. I am NEEDED at home and at work.

I need to learn how to relax and find ways to take better care of myself.

My natural tendency after any perceived weakness is to be harder on myself. If my body fails me, I’m going to push it. I work harder. I make my workouts more grueling. I make sure to not rest or take it easy. I take on too much.

I use my biggest strength, my determination, to fight myself. I have to stop beating myself up. The world does that enough already!

It seems like the stress during this round of the fight has chosen to attack my body and not my mind. For the moment, the demons in my mind have not been stirred from their hibernation. It makes it easier to deal with the external stress.

Now I just need to learn how to relax. It has never been my strong suit.

My determination and self-discipline is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It forces me to work hard. It’s my drill seargant for my tough exercise routine. It’s what keeps me going. It helps me accomplish my goals.

And sometimes it is a double edged sword..I beat myself up instead of taking care of myself like I should.

 

No fires

I worked late Thursday night until 8 PM. If I worked late, I would be able to keep to my running schedule which hasn’t been broken since the stomach flu of May of 2016. It is more important than writing.

Friday morning I ran 12 miles. It was the best run in ages. I didn’t feel any pain or exhaustion. I felt energetic and happy. Things were going good until I realized that I was missing a key ingredient in the dip I was making for the afternoon staff party. I had to make an unexpected trip to the store on the busiest grocery shopping day of the year.

The parking lot to the store was a zoo. Traffic was backed up for a mile away. Not many parking lots spaces were to be had and there weren’t many carts either. Angel was called into work at the store on that day and I was happy to see her busy working while I was there.

We closed the office early on Friday and scheduled an office wide website training and beer sampling party upon the suggestion of our sales guy James. James said that the party was going to be the highlight of his holiday weekend. He is a divorced man and his only son was spending the weekend with his in-laws. I felt bad for him.

We learned a lot about the technical side of our website and it was determined that I was going to help start a blog.

Then Christmas Eve came before I knew it. I realized I had been so busy at work that I forgot to drink out of my special holiday mug this year. I didn’t even wrap gifts until later in the day.

Angel and I sang a duet at church that evening. We were also part of the choir. It was a strange evening. Someone smelled smoke and thought they saw smoke coming out of the church building right before the choir processed in. We discussed briefly how flammable our choir robes are.

Angel and I decided to sing our duet without the security of having the music in front of us. We were nervous as we looked out at the hundreds of people in attendance. Angel was freaking out that she would forget the words. We made a couple of errors. I had to look at all of the people looking at me while I sang. It was nerve wracking. If I had the music, I could stare at that instead of at the eyes on me.

During the service, the other soloist forgot his words. The pastor started the sermon without reading the gospel. Then he lingered for a long time in his robe over the lit candles. We remembered our discussion on how flammable the robes are. The choir was ready to jump on him to put out the flames or interrupt the service to have the pastor move only to find out later that the candles were fake.

We awoke the following morning to a white Christmas. Later in the day, it started to sleet and then rain. I was worried about my son on the road. He made it home safe.

For awhile, Paul was hurt that I didn’t get him a Christmas gift. I felt bad that he felt bad. It was a big misunderstanding. I thought that he said that we should buy ourselves our own gifts. So I bought myself a wet suit on clearance. That probably sounds bad. I bought myself something, but got him nothing. He did buy some ice fishing stuff that I have no clue about.

Arabella, Paul, and I had a relaxing Christmas day together. I stayed in my pajamas all day.

I’m sorry this post wasn’t as exciting as I intended it to be. The church didn’t end up starting on fire. Everything ended up turning out great in the end.

I want to say thanks again for your presence, if you stuck with me this far. Having this blog is a wonderful gift. I am so happy that you are following along on this journey of mine..

 

13. Five weaknesses

Day 13: Describe 5 weaknesses that you have.

1. I worry too much.

I can’t seem to relax and let go. I am overly responsible. I take on the weight of the world. I try to fix things I have no control over. I over think and under feel. I think about everything, all of the time. I am not carefree.

2. I am stoic.

Sometimes I have no response to very good or very bad news. It makes people feel like I don’t care about them. It seems to take me a lot longer than other people to process my feelings. I am stoic, calm, and collected in all situations even when I shouldn’t be. When I am very upset, instead of letting everything out, I push others away and get locked inside of my head.

3. I am a black and white detailed thinker with high expectations of myself and others.

There is no middle ground with me. I give 100% or nothing at all. When others do not live up to my expectations, I have the tendency to want to cut them out of my life completely. I have a really hard time with the word ‘acquaintance’. Are you with me or not? I get bogged down with the details. I can’t seem to see the big picture. I get plagued with indecisiveness and trapped in my rigid structure. I am not spontaneous. I am a rule follower, but I make the rules.

4. I lack compassion.

I am not going to be the one that cries with you. I won’t hug you or get into your personal space. I am very critical of every sob story I hear, especially if it could be used to exploit others in any way. I will search the details for evidence that something is off. I am cynical and distrustful of the people around me. It takes a long time to earn my trust.

5. I find fault in others, but don’t want to see my own shortcomings.

I am very stubborn and resistant to change. I want to do things my way even if your way is better. If you accuse me of doing something wrong, I will deny it. Then I will take the long detailed list of your shortcomings and throw it in your face. Because, let’s face it, you’re wrong and I’m right! I am not confrontational, but won’t hesitate to stand up for what I believe is right. Sometimes I value my structure, rules, and being right over my relationships with others.


12. A typical day

Day 12: Describe a typical day in your current life.

ATTENTION ALL INSOMNIACS!! This one is for you!

Today is a typical Monday.

I awoke a few minutes before the alarm went off after getting exactly 8 hours of sleep. I need no more or no less..

The first thing I do after visiting the bathroom is check my phone. I may have missed something important that happened in the world in the exactly 8 hours I was sleeping.

I take my Prilosec and start a load of laundry. I do exactly 2 loads of laundry every day unless I am gone or I am doing a load of towels. Towels can be a one load day.

Then I try to coax my kids out of bed for school. My alarms get louder if I think they will be late or will miss the bus.

Then I sit on the couch and drink exactly one and a half cups of coffee while trying to  have a conversation with my husband who is playing chess online. I scrounge up something to eat, then take my daily vitamins. On Monday, I floss my teeth.

I chase the kids off to school and start another load of laundry.

Then I go for a 6 mile run on the exact same route I always take. I listen to music and sometimes sing along loudly. I get mad at the idiots who almost hit me. I wave at my fans or people that follow my road rules exactly (the ones that slow down and move over). Afterwards, I take a shower. If it is nice out, I will hang my 2 loads of laundry on the line. Then I go to work.

Around lunchtime, I put the Monday chemicals in my hot tub then write a rough draft for my blog.

Then I go back to work until the work is done or I need to take my kids to after school activities. Somewhere in there, I edit my blog post and publish it.

Then I take another Prilosec exactly one half hour before eating supper. Sometimes I make supper. We always eat supper together as a family and talk about each others day. I always clean the kitchen afterwards. Then I fold my 2 loads of laundry and put them into piles for each family member. If I have some free time in the evening, I will sit in the hot tub. If my kids aren’t home, I stalk them on my phone to find out when they will be home. If they are home, I try to talk to them. Or maybe I’ll watch some favorite shows on Netflix with Paul.

Then I say my prayers and go to bed…and start things all over again the next day..

I am all for structure, schedules, and routine…but this will be the last time I bore you with all the details of a typical day…

Are you sleeping yet??

Summer, don’t leave me too!

The Canadian geese are flying south. Just like that a light switch was turned off. Summer is ending.

I always have a hard time this time of year. It’s not that I don’t like the changing of the seasons. It’s just that I live for summer. I love the warm weather and sunshine.

Now all of my kids are back in school. I had to say good-bye to my oldest child for the first time when I sent her off to college. It wasn’t just like saying good-bye to a child, it was saying good-bye to a friend. Over the past few years, the active parenting ended and a friendship began. I hope it will be like that with all of my children.

Out of all of the people living on this Earth, my daughter Angel is the most like me. She looks just like me. She has my mannerisms. We have very similar personalities, viewpoints, morals, and taste. We are both firstborns. We relate on all levels. Sometimes I think that she is an unjaded version of me. She is what I could’ve been. People have asked before if she is my clone. It was hard to let go.

My son Alex takes after my side of the family in everything but looks. Because of this, I understand him. Arabella is completely alien to me. We have nothing in common. To be totally honest, this has been a struggle for me. Sometimes we clash instead of click. It just doesn’t seem fair!

The morning after dropping off Angel at college, my husband went away on a week long sailing trip with friends. He will be back home tonight. This has made things more stressful for me at home and at work.

At first, I was fine. It seems like it takes me a few days to process my emotions.

Monday the anxiety and worry hit me hard. It probably didn’t help that I checked my phone before going to bed and noticed that Alex was not at his friend’s house that he was staying overnight at. Apparently they got bored and decided to aimlessly drive around much to my disappointment since I was the one filling up the tank with gas.

I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I waited until Alex got back to his friend’s house on my phone. Then I still couldn’t sleep because I stirred up the demon of my relationship with my dad. I didn’t realize that it upset me as much as it did. Of course, it is probably not wise to stir up painful moments in my life when I am feeling so emotional about my daughter leaving. My anxiety was through the roof and it kept me from sleeping most of the night.

The next morning I felt exhausted and depressed. I had to man the office by myself all day. Work was very busy and I didn’t feel like doing it. When I feel that way, I want to give up everything. I want to quit running. I want to stop blogging. I want to curl up in a ball and totally shut down. I will never do that though, somehow my mind beats out my heart every time. I don’t let myself shut down or even relax.

I will never give up this blog without telling people I am leaving. I am one of the least impulsive people I know. I am cold and calculating. I am schedule and routine. I am all or nothing. I overthink and underfeel. Like it or not, that is how I am. Yet somehow I can still manage to be fun.

Change has always been difficult for me, even if it is for the better. I have accepted that my daughter left home. It has to be a good thing for me because it is good for her.

Now I just have to accept that summer is over. This weekend we are shutting down the cabin for the season. The water will soon be too cold to swim in. By next month, we will be taking the sailboat out of water. The first few flurries will start to fall. My long outdoor runs will have to take place indoors on a treadmill.

Summer, please don’t leave me too!!

But I can’t look at it that way!

I have to be happy that my daughter is starting the future of her dreams. I still have other kids at home to bond with. I am married to a wonderful, adventurous man.

I have to look forward to crisp autumn days. Cool evenings spent in my hot tub gazing at the stars. Bonfires with friends. Photographing the beauty of the trees changing color. Reading cold psychological thrillers wrapped in a warm blanket. And having plenty of time to write…

Birthday blues

Tomorrow is my birthday.

What do I want? Something that can’t be bought in a store.

I want a day of peace and tranquility. Just one day that is problem free. I want an escape from my normal routine.

Every day is the same. I start a couple loads of laundry before heading off to work. I deal with problems at work. Then I deal with problems at home. Sometimes simultaneously. After I make supper, clean the kitchen, and fold laundry I finally get to go to bed. I wake up and do it all over again the next day. Although I enjoy working and keeping busy, sometimes adulting can be monotonous and the responsibility burdensome.

I have to work tomorrow. After work, the kids want to do something with me. All I want from them is peace. I don’t want to hear any fighting. Even when we play games, they constantly tease each other by calling names or saying that their siblings suck. They say that it is all in jest, but I don’t find it very funny.

Paul has play practice on my birthday. I should’ve known to lower my expectations when he got the lead part in the summer play. He doesn’t have time for me anymore. I was hoping that he would go up north with me last weekend. When we got together with theater friends last week, he spontaneously offered to take them sailing this past weekend. So he did that instead. Then he asked me to crew for his race last night, but I was replaced by his theater friends. I was okay with that because I only wanted to be a sub. However, he has been sailing with a much younger single woman (not alone) from the theater that thinks he’s hot. I guess I would care more if she was attractive. I was hoping to sail with Paul for almost a week for our anniversary, but we cut it back to a weekend for play practice. I am getting really sick of it already.

I feel left out. I didn’t know all of the inside jokes. I am just an introvert who wants to feel included, but doesn’t want to go. I feel like no one cares about me. The kids really don’t need me much anymore. Sometimes I don’t really care about me either. I almost got hit by a car this morning while I was out riding my bike. The lady almost went through a stop sign. She slammed on her brakes last minute when she saw me. I didn’t get angry like I usually do. I didn’t really care. Hey, I’m still here!

Although my best friend Lisa moved home almost two months ago, we have only seen each other twice. I don’t feel like running with her. I would rather be alone.

When I was a kid, my mom made a very big deal out of my birthday. It was the one day of the year that my life wasn’t all about my autistic brother. I think because of that I have high expectations of how that day should go. Every year it seems harder and harder to get excited. My birthday always signifies the middle of summer. It is going by so quickly this year. I don’t want summer to end and I don’t want to get any older!

Tomorrow I will be 21 (doubled). Gulp! Ready or not, here I come.

Hard to tame

Once, a very long time ago, I lived in wild and rugged terrain. I had an important job. I kept vigilance. I watched all day and sometimes at night too. Every little sound would wake me and cause me to take guard. I noticed every little detail in my environment for any change that could signify a problem. I noticed patterns.

I was a protector. My vigilance never stopped bad things from happening, but it may have forewarned others of danger or prevented them from being hurt. I wasn’t allowed the distraction of feelings, sensitivity, caring, or warmth to distract me from my post. A lot of other people had that job, but not me.

Then for a short period of time, I was removed from my post. I found myself alone. I thought that maybe I could finally be like everyone else. I wanted to be trusting like everyone else. But I couldn’t.

Then I found myself in an entirely different terrain. I was like a wild prairie dog trapped within the safe confinement of a zoo. I resumed my old post although I was no longer needed. No hawks circled. Few dangers threatened nearby day or night. But I found myself vigilant at my post. I was told that I wasn’t needed anymore, that I should take it easy or relax.

But any attempt to relax my guard caused me more anxiety. So I ran marathons around the inside edges of the wall. I paced back and forth so often that my path was beaten down. Even though I was no longer standing guard, I still felt like I was watching.

Then something else happened. I no longer wanted to be like everyone else. I found that being vigilant had purpose and meaning. My distrust protected me and those I care about.

Even in times of peace, a few people are needed to keep guard. Someone still needs to have a discerning eye to protect others from danger. I am that person.

Some animals are hard to tame.