Saturday, February 27, 2010

Breeding Negativity?

Not me- because that would be completely counterproductive- but some of the people around me.  I have a few people who are very dear to me who are so constantly negative that I often just want to shake them.  It is funny because I usually have one of two extreme reactions (depending on my mood) when I spend any time talking to them.  The first reaction is that I overdose on positivity.  I basically end up arguing them into admitting their life REALLY doesn't suck as much as they like to portray.  The other is that I listen, I apologize, I commisserate and I get off of the phone/IM/Skype as fast as humanly possible because inside I am getting so aggravated that I might say something that is not particularly nice.  It is exhausting to be around someone who is always negative.  It is draining.  Quite honestly- having worked so hard to banish that from my life- it makes me blatently ANGRY. 

I want to take them by the shoulders and shake them hard and yell that all of their negativity just invites more negativity into their lives.  I want to tell them:

  • It is tiring to always hear about how awful you have it, how everything bad happens to you and how nothing is every right.  It is also demoralizing to see that you are not taking responsibility for the situations that you have created and are not working to change them. 
  • When you constantly talk about how everything bad always happens to you- you diminish all the good things that happen to you. 
  • When you always focus on the pain you are in, be it physical, mental or emotional, you will not see that you have good days as well as bad and you will not feel the relief.
  • When you talk about how people suck, people are mean, people are stupid- you discount all of the GOOD people in your life- and guess what?  That hurts.
  • When you concentrate on everything that is bad in your life, when you fail to acknowledge all of your blessings- you make it seem as if none of those blessings are as important as your woes. 
  • When you ALWAYS see what is WRONG in your life- it is a self fulfilling prophecy.  You. Will. Always. See. The. Bad. Things. In. Your. Life.  You need to STOP- look UP- and look for and embrace the people and things that are right, and good, and happy in your life.  If you do-you will invite MORE good, and right and happy things into your life.  And you deserve that.  We all deserve that. 
I wish I had the nerve to say these things to them, but they mean more to me than the sum of their misery.  Now that I have said it here- I can be grateful that I have left the drama and the chronic complaining behind me in my life.  I can be grateful that I can see how very blessed I am.  I can be grateful that I know that I have wonderful people, and blessings big and small in my life.  And I can only anticipate more. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Torn- that's how I am feeling this morning.  My work schedule is *supposed* to be from 10-7 today.  Yet here I am, sitting at my computer, just typed a to do list and ready to send it to my work email address, thinking that I really should go in because there is a lot that I need to do.  I have a feeling that I will end up going in at the normal time because we are in a tough place at work right now. 

My boss is effectively stepping down on Friday.  She has been out sick for several months and is physically unable to return.  We have been trying very hard to keep the store running on an even keel while she has been out but it hasn't been the same because we (my co-assistant manager and I) have very different management styles than our boss.  Our boss is very much about fostering a family feeling- sometimes to the detriment of the work.  I am all about getting the job done first and if we enjoy one another in the process it is a bonus- which means that at times I lose sight of the people.  My co-assistant is somewhere in the middle.  The good thing is that my co-assistant and I even one another out.  Things that make me crazy don't make her nuts.  Things that make her nuts- don't make me crazy at all.  That is what has made us be able to work so well together over the last two years.   

Now, until we know what will happen in terms of a new manager, we keep forging ahead.  We have sat with our full timers and talked through performance reviews.  It is always interesting to see how someone sees their own performance.  What was very interesting was that when we asked three simple questions:  1- what did you do exceptionally well this year, 2- what areas do you need to improve and 3- what goals should we set for the coming year- every single one of us (our reviews are now too and we had to write one anothers) went for the second went for the second question first.  Very telling- and very interesting.  Next is our budgeting process.  I am supposed to have a four day weekend but I will probably work on payroll budgeting for at least part of it. 

What I need to do is keep my eyes on the goals and not sweat the small stuff.  If I can do that- I will be able to let some of this tension and stress go and just get the job done.  Considering that I haven't slept well in several weeks- that would be something to be incredibly grateful for. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Defying the odds

Today is my 24th wedding anniversary.  That in itself is a bit if a miracle.  Jim and I were married when we were 20 and 18 respectively.  Sadly- there is only one couple that we know of in our group of friends from that era that was married within 5 years of us that is still married.  I can understand it.  I mean- at 18 and 20 we *thought* we knew everything but boy were we so very wrong. 

We both realize how incredibly fortunate we are that after all of these years we still genuinely like one another.  It has not been an easy road by any stretch of the imagination but we have worked- really hard- at making it work for us.  We have learned so much about and from one another- and we still discover new things all of the time.  We have shared much joy and much pain.  We have worked through the "growing pains" and our fundamental differences.  We have learned to compromise by discovering what we can- and can't live with.  We still have things that make us absolutely  nuts- and things that completely endear us to one another- but we know that we are in this for the long haul so we find a balance.  We play to our strengths and shore up one another's weaknesses. 

  I am so grateful to have reached this point - and I look forward to the next 24 years.  I am also eternally grateful for the example set by my parents- who will celebrate their 44th anniversary at the end of the week. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The road less traveled

“You’ve got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.”
― Steven D. Woodhull
I got this quote in my inbox on Friday.  As I read it, I just smiled because it is so simple, yet makes so much sense.  How many times have we stayed on the same path for far longer than is good for us because it is easier than making a change?  I know I have- far too often. 

A prime example is getting out of Massachusetts.  For many, many years my Grandmother (rest her soul) and my parents advised me to get out of there.  They offered us a place to stay in Indiana so we could make a life for ourselves out here.  For those same years- we had a million "reasons" (read-excuses) why we should stay there but what it boiled down to was that it was the life we knew.  Even though Massachusetts has an incredibly high cost of living, even though we struggled month to month- it was easier than picking up and changing our lives completely.  Of course- now we know by having made that move coming up on three years ago- it was the best thing we could have done. 

We also know that had we listened to our loved ones years ago- Josh would not be facing the exact same conundrum right this minute.  Josh is having a tough time of it up there.  We have offered him a home, my parents have offered him a home, my sisters have offered him a home- all in different places across the country- all with the possibility of a fresh start.  He, like his parents before him, is trying his hardest to make it work where he is comfortable.  What he doesn't realize is that all of us understand how hard it is to make that change and we only want to hold open the door to possibilities for him.  It is up to him to walk through that door.

Choosing to take the road less traveled is just that- stepping through a door and opening up a world of possibilities.  It's a chance to re-invent yourself and to (as Oprah is wont to say) "Live your best life".  It's literally a chance to have a mulligan or a "do over".  You can go someplace were very few (or no) people know you.  They don't know your history, they don't know your mistakes, they only know what they see of your words and actions from this day forward.  Sounds good doesn't it?  No matter how good it sounds it can very, very hard to make that first step.  It means physically walking away from what you consider "home".  Even though there are email, IM, phones, it means "leaving" your friends.  It means leaving your comfort zone.  Stepping out of that comfort zone can be very SCARY- but if you take that leap it can be equally gratifying.  

In going back to the quote at the beginning of this blog- I cannot be grateful enough that we did exactly what Mr. Woodhull advises and made another choice.   Having taken that chance, having stepped out of our comfort zone, having opened ourselves up to the possibilities has given us more blessings than we could ever have imagined.  Most importantly, it has allowed us to find out who we are and not have to live up to what others think.  It has allowed us to reinvest in our relationship with one another and if possible we are happier now than we were as newlyweds.  It has give us peace, in our home, in our hearts and our souls.  Would I recommend the road less traveled- you bet I would because if you keep your mind and your heart open- it can change your life immeasureably. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Looking forward to a quiet weekend

This weekend we have very little in the way of plans.  We have to get laundry done (visting Mt. Wash-ington) because we have a lot of it that needs to be folded and ironed.  That is the only thing that I really *have* to get done. 

I would like to sort through my craft supplies and get some of them listed on Freecycle.  I would like to get going through my magazine stack and work on a new foam vision board.  I would like to sort through at least one bin of photos.  I would like to take some clothes over to Goodwill.  I would like to scrub the floors and do the carpets.  But none of these things are huge priorities.  If I feel like it- it would be good to get these things done, if not- I will get to them eventually. 

It is such a luxury to have a weekend free of any plans.  I love when we get to go visit my parents.  I enjoy, very much, spending time with them.  I hate when we have to come home because when we do- not only do we have to say goodbye  but we also lose an hour (we have a time zone change half way between us) and then we have to get home and get ready for the week and it feels like we are rushing through the end of our weekend.  When either of us works on Saturday (which for hubby is often) it means that we both have to get up because the pups get up and they need to be walked when they get up- but when we don't- they will sleep in with us for a little while so we can wake up naturally and it starts the day off in a relaxed mode.  When we do get a weekend that we don't have plans to go visit my parents and when we don't have to work, and we don't have anything pressing that needs to be done, it is a little slice of heaven right here on earth.  It is also a far, far cry from the many weekends where we spent the majority of it working until 3 am only to turn around and go back the next day. 

So the "plan" this weekend is to start folding laundry when I get home tonight.  Saturday- I will finish the laundry (including the ironing and matching up the dreaded sock mountain) and then pick and choose from the rest of the list of "would like to" as I feel like.  We will have to stop at the grocery store for a few items but nothing major.  We might even (weather permitting) take the pups to the riverwalk for a romp.  Sunday- absolutely nothing.  I will take my MTX shot and nap before I plan my week.  I will also check our calendar (LOVE Google Calendar- the majority of our family is synced) and see when we can plan to go to Mom and Dad's the next few weeks.  Our goal is getting all of our housework done on Saturday so we can purely relax on Sunday. 

I am so grateful for these "free" weekends that we get to spend together.  It reminds us how blessed we are to have made the changes that allow them. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What do you do when you can't sleep?

It is now 3:45am.  I have been up for just over an hour and a half.  I can tell you now it will be a two pot of coffee kind of day.  I don't know why I can't sleep (probably stress related) but for some reason I have been up and down since 10:30pm.  So what have I done with this middle of this night quiet time? 

I have answered long overdue emails.

I have updated my google calendar

I have fooled around on Facebook

I have visited Dr. Oz's website for his Oz 100

I have watched Criminal Minds- and now Oprah. 

I have visited my "friends" blogs and caught up on where they are.

I have researched smoothie recipes that I can take for lunch. 

I have done a load of dishes. 

I have started an email to send to myself at work of things I need to get done this week.

I feel like I haven't really accomplished anything - but I am doing my best to be very quiet so I don't wake the hubby while I wander around.  I wish that I could just sit still and be, rather than do.  Perhaps if I could, I could sleep rather than sit here wondering what else I can do.  So I am curious.  Many of us with RA and Fibro have issues sleeping.  What do YOU do when you can't sleep? 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hard lessons, connections and the next four phases of my life.

I have recently realized that everything in my life is interconnected. This is not gospel, it is just my opinion. I have found that if I look- really look- I find patterns of how the same issues affect me show up again and again.

I have discussed my issues with my weight here before. This issue has gone back as far as I can remember. I can tell you that even in high school- I was curvy. Being a curvy girl in a sea of skinny girls can really mess with your head if you let it- and I did. I look now at a picture of me in 1983 and I want to go back and kick that little girl in the rear end. Back then I was under the impression that I had a weight problem. I was very, very self conscious of those curves and it made me a little crazy.
As an adult- I have let that struggle shape (no pun intended) my vision of myself for years. Diet, diet, diet, diet. If I could tell you how many I have started- and failed at- over the years even I would be amazed. I have allowed each failure to demoralize me and hold me back from other things too.

Speaking of "failures" there is my smoking. I have smoked for almost *cough* thirty *cough* years. I started smoking in high school. Over the years I have tried to quit so many times- not as many times as I have dieted but a good number of times over the years. Each time I tried to quit and failed- I allowed it to demoralize me- and send me running to the fridge. See the first connection?

Then there is my "exercise program". I have, in my possession at this moment, several exercise videos, two Wii fit games (regular and plus), the fitness on demand at my disposal and a slew of walking guides. I have started and stopped this over and over. Partially because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia and the fear that doing something hard core would exacerbate my pain level. More- because I am so out of shape that I am embarrassed. Embarrassed because I couldn't run around the block without my lungs bursting. Embarrassed because the Wii fit tells me: "That's Obese!" when it does my measurements. Embarrassed because no matter how good my intentions- there are many nights that I get home that I am so tired that it is all I can do to take my dogs for their walk. Another connection- this time to both the weight issues and the smoking.

What I have learned by taking a hard look at this is that I have always approached these things with the same full on, jump in with both feet, go whole hog attitude that I do everything else. The more difficult lesson here is that I have learned that it just doesn't work for me. When I jump in and try to make too drastic a change- I set myself up for failure. I set myself up for that moment when I slip, then beat myself up and give up.  I have always thought that by jumping in full throttle that I would make it through anything. It's part of my "Tigger personality" which I discussed here .  I was wrong.  I was way wrong. 

The new lesson, the new approach here, is to start small.  I am starting with the smoking.  I have traded in my cigarettes for a "personal vaporizer" (also known as an e-cigarette).  Last week I was down from a just under a  pack a day to four cigarettes a day.  I haven't had any at all since Sunday night.  I have made concessions for the fact that I may slip.  I have a full pack of cigarettes, with the cellophane on, in my possession.  I am making a "game" or a "challenge" with myself to see just how long I can keep that cellophane intact.  Knowing that they are there, knowing that I *can* access them- rather than throwing everything away and telling myself I *can't* -actually helped me get through yesterday.  Of course- the biggest help was my little V4L- but even with that- I was at a lower nicotine level than I was comfortable with because I am waiting for a delivery of the right strength. 

While I am working on this portion of my changes I want to make to my life- I will be preparing for the next step.  I will be taking out all of my Weight Watcher's info, handbooks and cookbooks and relearning that lifestyle.  I am going back to the boards to read and learn.  I am going to pull out all of the cookbooks and see what recipes my honey will like so that I can begin to incorporating them in.  Most importantly- I am going to start planning and logging my meals so that when I am ready to begin making those changes- I am in the habit. 

For the third phase, I will begin incorporating a little exercise into my life.  It is horribly cold and icy out so walking longer is not an option at the moment.  Instead- in the spirit of moving slowly- I am going to begin by using my ON DEMAND for one session of yoga on Saturday mornings beginning this Saturday- the 20th.  As I get to phase two, I will add a second day.  Perhaps Thursday because I am *supposed* to go into work late on Thursdays and that way I won't feel rushed.  After phase two takes- and I am giving myself between 3 and 6 weeks for each phase- we should be creeping into spring and I can add longer walks into my routines.  I think Auggie would enjoy longer walks- and as long as the snow is gone- Harley will be pleased as well. 

Phase four is cutting back.  That means going through my "stuff" and downsizing it.  In preparation for this phase- I am going to immerse myself in the "Simplifying" reading.  I have books, magazines and websites at my disposal for this and all of them say that when you let go of "stuff" you feel free.  I am going to plan on what types of things I want to "freecycle", what I want to try to sell and what I want to just plain junk. I need to really look at all of our "stuff" with a critical eye and decide what really is important to me- and what is not.  I have two groups of things to start with.  First is photos.  I have bins of loose photos- many of them repetitive and inconsequential to where my life is now.  They will go.  The ones I want to keep will go into albums or frames and then be stored or hung.   Weeding through them will be a bit time consuming but when they are gone- I will be able to move on.  The second is my craft stuff.  I have- literally- 8 bins and storage containers full of craft items.  Many of these are from my pre-RA life.  It's time to let those go.  There is no need for me to take up the space in my home for things I can no longer use and I am sure that someone on Freecycle will want them. 

Planning, taking it slow, and moving logically.  I have faith that this will be the key to my long term success.  I am grateful to have realized this- even if it did take me many, many years to put the pieces of this puzzle together. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's St. Valentine's Day!

I am one of those people that loved exchanging Valentine's when I was a kid. I am also one of those people who belives that Valentine's Day is not just for lovers- but for anyone that you love. I don't believe that my husband has to go out and buy me over priced flowers, chocolates that I (and my rear end) don't need, or jewelry to show me that he loves me. Now- I am not saying I don't like those things. I love flowers, just not that they jack up the prices for the holiday. I love good chocolate- but I really-really don't need them. And goodness knows that I love diamonds- but I would rather get them because it was Tuesday rather than because of a sense of "having to because"....

Last night my honey and I ran to the Dollar store. We needed to get light bulbs and it's a great place to get them and save some dollars. At the checkout there were literally hundreds of mylar balloons. Heart shaped, round, red, pink, silver, "I Love you", "Be Mine"- you get the idea. We had to walk through all of those strings to escape the store. The cashier was all sorts of high pressure to sell my hubby some of those balloons. Hubby laughed and told her that we don't celebrate Valentine's Day. Our anniversary is a week away and we prefer to celebrate that instead. I told her that I don't need him to buy Valentine's gifts to know that he loves me. As we were walking through the parking lot to our car I was thinking of all of the hundreds of ways he shows his love to me on a regular basis.

Not only is he completely supportive about the challenges that come with my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, it is also the little things. Things like taking both dogs for their evening walk so that I can get to bed early when I take my Enbrel. Or roasting asparagus or brussels sprouts for me even though he really, really doesn't like them. It's stopping and waiting when I step down into an icy parking lot to make sure I don't slip and fall or stopping for coffee for me even though he doesn't drink it. Personally- I would much rather have these things every day because they show me that he is thinking of me- not because of some holiday but just because he loves me.

I feel that I am very, very fortunate. Not only that I have him and that he loves me- but that I am very secure in that knowledge. I cannot help but feel blessed that I am reminded how lucky I am. *Disclaimer* He is not, by any stretch of the imagination, perfect. He has flaws both small and large- but then so do I. Confucius said “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” I will keep my diamond, no matter how rough he may be.

I hope each of you finds great joy in all of those you love- today and every day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We are the World

Twenty-five years ago, when I was *almost* 18 years old forty-five of our most beloved musicians (and actors) came together to raise money for African relief. Dubbed USA for Africa, with a simple song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, this coming together gave us a song that was- for my generation- something never seen before.  It opened our eyes to the good that can come from working together and when you - as Quincy Jones demanded- "Leave your ego at the door."  I remember sitting in awe, and then in tears, as I watched the video over and over (thank you MTV and VH1 when you really were video channels).  It touched my heart then- and it still does today. 

Here I give you the original video, featuring: 
•Dan Aykroyd•Harry Belafonte •Lindsey Buckingham•Kim Carnes•Ray Charles
•Bob Dylan•Sheila E.•Bob Geldof•Hall and Oates•James Ingram•Jackie Jackson
•LaToya Jackson•Marlon Jackson•Michael Jackson•Randy Jackson•Tito Jackson
•Al Jarreau•Waylon Jennings•Billy Joel•Cyndi Lauper•Huey Lewis and the News
•Kenny Logins•Bette Midler•Willie Nelson•Jeffery Osborne•Steve Perry•The Pointer Sisters•Lionel Richie•Smokey Robinson•Kenny Rogers•Diana Ross•Paul Simon•Bruce Springsteen•Tina Turner•Dionne Warwick•Stevie Wonder
•Michael Boddicker - Synthesizers, Programming
•Paulinho da Costa - Percussion
•Louis Johnson - Bass
•Quincy Jones - Producer
•Michael Omartian - Keyboards, Producer
•Greg Phillinganes - Keyboards
•John Robinson - Drums

This year, in response to the horrific January 12th earthquake in Haiti, Quincy Jones and Lionel Ritchie brought together another group of musical artists representing every age group from the very young(Justin Beiber, Jonas Brothers, Mylie Cyrus) to the true legends (Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand); from every musical genre from Pop (PINK!,Christina Auguilara)to Hip Hop (the Black Eyed Peas) to Country (Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush) to Rap (LL Cool J and Snoop Dog) and I love, love, love that they digitally added in Michael Jackson- because it wouldn't be right without him.

When I saw this video this morning, I was literally in tears again. Where else in the world could you bring together so many (80 this time!) incredibly talented to create something lasting to help people that they will never meet in their lifetime? Where else, but here in the USA, would these people whose every whim is answered for them, who are adored and revered within their world, who are scattered across the world busy working on their own tours and engagements, drop everything to come together create this video in hopes that people like me will either click the donate button on Youtube or download it on itunes to raise money for the relief efforts? This makes me proud of each of these artists. It also makes me giggle because I saw Lionel Ritchie on Oprah on Friday and he was describing looking around the room and watching Tony Bennett having a conversation with Snoop Dog and Barbra Streisand with her chin on's shoulder talking to Justin Beiber and just the surreal quality of it all. I picture it in my mind and it just doesn't click.

Though they will never know of my thanks- I am grateful to the following artists for their time, their passion and their dedication to making this video. * Carlos Santana* Sugarland* Natalie Cole* India.Arie* Mary Mary
* Bebe Winans* Tyrese Gibson* Raphael Saadiq* Keri Hilson* Heart* Pink
* Miley Cyrus* Jordin Sparks* Katharine McPhee* Patti Austin* Usher
* The Fray* Nicole Richie* Ethan Bortnick (9-year-old prodigy pianist)
* Taj Jackson* Freda Payne* Lil Wayne* Harry Connick Jr.* Bizzy Bones (Bone Thugs-n-Harmony)* Orianthi (This Is It guitarist)* Rickey Minor (American Idol music director)* Adam Levine* Earth Wind & Fire* Jonas Brothers* Nicole Scherzinger* Julianne Hough* Melanie Fiona* Mya
* Anthony Hamilton* Gladys Knight* Joel Madden* Benji Madden* Musiq Soulchild* Randy Jackson* Kid Cudi* Trey Songz* Taryll Jackson* T.J. Jackson* Drake* Faith Evans* Rashida Jones* Al Jardine* A.R. Rahman (Grammy winner, “Jai Ho”)* Jason Mraz* Akon* Jennifer Hudson* Enrique Iglesias* Toni Braxton* Lady Gaga* Justin Bieber* Celine Dion* T-Pain
* Trey Songz* Kanye West* Tony Bennett* Beach Boy Brian Wilson* Snoop Dogg
* Jamie Foxx* Jeff Bridges* LL Cool J* Wyclef Jean* Vince Vaughn* Robin Thicke** Reba McEntire* Brandy* Josh Groban* Rob Thomas
* Zac Brown Band* Barbra Streisand. This is the "offical list" so if I missed anyone- my apologies.

I hope you enjoy the new version as much as I did:

I am doing the itunes donation so that I can add it (and the original) to my playlist. If it so moves you- I hope that you will too.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A New (to me) and fun blog to share.

I have found a new blog that I would like to share with you this morning. It is a personal development blog that I have really enjoyed exploring. The post that I keep going back to is a wonderful list entitled

by dragos on March 13, 2009 · 28 comments

in Personal Development


Too often we find more reasons to hate our life than to love it. And you know what? Life hates us back. Here are 77 reasons to love your life. Pick one or add your own in the comments.

  1. love your life for everything you already have
  2. love your life for what you are yet to receive
  3. love your life for all your certainties
  4. love your life for the friends you have
  5. love your life for the wonderful journeys you had
  6. love your life for the friends you will get
  7. love your life for all the bad advice you didn’t follow
  8. love your life for your beautiful memories
  9. love your life for the ones you love
  10. love your life for the ones you forgot, as they are still to enrich your life
  11. love your life for the work you do, as this is your gift to the others
  12. love your life for the jokes you still wait to hear
  13. love your life for the beautiful travels you are still to make
  14. love your life for everything you are not sure about, as it will still challenge your being
  15. love your life for all the beautiful sunrises you remember
  16. love your life for all the fantastic sunsets you still recall
  17. love your life for tomorrow’s sunrise
  18. love your life for yesterday sunset
  19. love your life for the gifts you are yet to receive
  20. love your life for the health you have
  21. love your life for all the beauty you can spot around you
  22. love your life for the ugliness around you, as it serves you to contrast the beauty you are ignoring
  23. love your life for the riddles you haven’t yet solved
  24. love your life for all your unanswered questions
  25. love your life for all your victories
  26. love your live for all the good advice you followed
  27. love your life for all your lost battles, as they are your precious lessons
  28. love your life for your enemies, as they are there to give birth to you forgiveness
  29. love your life for all the small things in your life
  30. love your life for all the ambitious goals you’ve set
  31. love your life for all the answers you got so far
  32. love your life for the smiles you get every day
  33. love your life for the smiles you give every day
  34. love your life for your energetic mornings
  35. love your life for your romantic evenings
  36. love your life for the life rediscovered through the eyes of your children
  37. love your life for the smell of the rain
  38. love your life for the gifts you still have to make
  39. love your life for all the games you haven’t yet played
  40. love your life for the next first snow
  41. love your life for all the great ideas you had today
  42. love your life for all the great ideas you will have tomorrow
  43. love your life for tomorrow’s surprises
  44. love your life for today’s gifts
  45. love your life for all your fulfilled dreams
  46. love your life for yesterday’s memories, they are there to enlight you
  47. love your life for all the nice words you haven’t yet said to your loved ones
  48. love your life for all the nice words you heard from your loved ones
  49. love your life for all the nice people you haven’t yet met
  50. love your life for all your mistakes, so you can have plenty of time to make up for them
  51. love your life for all the adventures you haven’t yet had
  52. love your life for all the books you haven’t yet read
  53. love your life for all the books you haven’t yet written
  54. love your life for all the unborn challenges you still have to face
  55. love your life for all the stories you haven’t yet heard, written or imagined
  56. love your life for the person who’s looking at you from the mirror every morning
  57. love your life for the nurturing family you already have
  58. love your life for all you have to share with others
  59. love your life for all you’ve lost in your journey, as it will only make room for something even bigger
  60. love your life for the feeling of your heart overflowing with love
  61. love your life for all your unfulfilled dreams as you will have plenty of time to make them true
  62. love your life for all the opportunities that are waiting for you just around the corner
  63. love your life for the personal freedom you conquered
  64. love your life for everything you created so far
  65. love your life for the beauty of every spring
  66. love your life for the energy of every summer
  67. love your life for the emotions of every fall
  68. love your life for the cold beauty of every winter
  69. love your life for all the beauty inside you, waiting yet to be discovered
  70. love your life for all the fantastic colors that are shaping your world every day
  71. love your life for all the wonderful music you’ve heard so far
  72. love your life for all the people you have met so far, they are your precious universe
  73. love your life for wind that caresses your face every day
  74. love your life for the all the unexpected changes of your plans
  75. love your life for all the fights you avoided
  76. love your life for all the crossroads you meet every day, they are there to offer you the best path you can chose
  77. love your life for every single second, as this is all you have, only this infinite second
Feel free to take this list and put it in your blog (with a link back to the original) and then add your own reasons. Feel free to tag your blogger friends and turn this into a meme. I only wrote 77 reasons for now but there are millions out there. Let’s share them

Tagged as: life, love

My own additions this morning:

I love my life for the gorgeous caprese salad that I just put together and can look forward to for lunch.

I love my life for the wonderfully supportive friends that I have been blessed with who I have never met in person

I love my life for the challenges I face every day and the ability to meet them.

I have to give "props" to @Flipbooks  for pointing me toward this blog on Twitter.  If you follow @Flipbooks, you will find a lot of very, very interesting links.  I often "favorite" his links from my blackberry and sit and check them out when I get home.  If you enjoy this list- you must follow @dragosroua for it is his blog.   I recommend you start with his other lists and work your way from there. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Days

I don't know about you but when I was a kid, a snow day was just about the greatest thing since dill pickles. A snow day meant staying in jammies and watching tv for a while, then getting bundled up and going outside to play in the snow for hours until we couldn't feel our fingers or noses. It meant collecting snow for snow cream, which mom would make for us and we thought we were just SO fancy. It meant hot cocoa and soup to warm you up. It was a day of freedom from school and homework. It was like a surprise vacation. Who didn't love a snow day?

Then I grew up. And snow days meant traffic hassles, finding a sitter or calling in to work and losing pay, and other headaches as it disrupted the day. It certainly changes your perspective when you are on the other side of the "kids getting to be home all day" coin. LOL.

Seven years ago- I started working in higher ed. Guess what? Snow days became fun again! I think we watch the tv and websites as hard if not harder than the kids!

Today- school was called off at 5:45 am. I let out a whoop that probably would be heard at my hubby's work. I called him anyway to let him know so he wasn't surprised when he got home. I poured myself another coffee and sent up a quick word of thanks. I started a tenderloin in the crock pot for pulled pork for dinner. I watched a show on my DVR- and now a second- and very soon, as soon as this cup of coffee is finished and this show is over- I am heading back to bed. It is such a wonderful indulgence to be able to crawl back in bed on a Tuesday morning- not because I am sick, not because I am in a flare- but just because I want a nap.

So now I have come full circle. I am back where I was 35 years ago- incredibly grateful for a snow day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Taking a big step

Confession time: I am a smoker. I have been a smoker since I was....fourteen or fifteen years old. I actually think I started smoking about the year they put the warning on the side of the box. That is what? 28 or 29 years ago? I knew the health risks but as a teenager- I thought I knew it all. I thought I was invincible. *I* would never get addicted. Yet another example of how stupid teenagers are.

I have tried to quit a thousand times. I have tried the patches (which burned my skin), the gum (couldn't stomach the taste), Zyban (lasted 6 weeks but even my boss- who harrassed me to quit- was ready to hand me a cigarette I was so moody) and cold turkey. Nothing has stuck. Though I know it is not an "excuse"- but the difficulty of efforts have been compounded by the fact that my darling husband is also a smoker. Trying to quit smoking while your partner is smoking is, for me, so very, very hard.

I have been thinking and thinking about quitting again. Having tried to quit so many times I know that it is the actual action of smoking that I "miss" when I try to quit in addition to the nicotine withdrawl. So this time I am taking a novel approach for me. I have given myself a gift on the recommendation of a dear friend of mine. On Friday afternoon, I ordered an "electronic cigarette" kit. My friend tried these a few weeks ago and has not only not resumed smoking- but said that the one cigarette she picked up- made her dry heave. Now that is a deterrent!

Not actually cigarettes- these are personal vaporizers that are shaped like cigarettes. The action of "Vaping" is just like smoking. You inhale and the battery kicks on and activates an atomizer which creates a vapor. The vapor contains anywhere from a small amount to no nicotine (you choose the strength of the cartridge when you order) but no tar, carbon dioxide or any of the other chemicals in "analog" cigarettes. There is no smoke- the vapor is waterbased so there is no second hand dangers either. The cartridges come in everything from "regular cigarette" to cola to fruit flavors- so there doesn't have to be a cigarette smell either. What I have read on the "vaping" boards also tells me that the cost is less than half of what I have been paying for cigarettes (beyond the start up cost)and we know that that cost is significant. I am so excited to switch to these things. I am expecting my kit to come either this afternoon or tomorrow and I can't wait to get my batteries charging and toss away my cigarettes. I believe that this will help me wean myself off nicotine while not being enticed by my other half smoking. I ordered several different strengths and flavors to start with so that I can try them out and see what I like and what works for me. The nice thing is that I can step down as I please and my hope is that I can start by substituting half of my regular smoking with lower nicotine levels and go from there. I even ordered some yummy sounding flavors with no nicotine at all.

Cross your fingers for me- if this works- I will be smoke free in a matter of days!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Second Half of My Life?

I am not a huge Rosie O'Donnell fan but I don't dislike her so when she was on Oprah a week or so ago I tuned in with half an ear. At one point, Oprah asked Rosie what she had been doing for the last few years and Rosie said "Planning the second half of my life." That caught my attention. In fact, I had to rewind and listen again. It seems Rosie lost her mother when her mother was in her 40's and therefore, Rosie always expected to die at the same age. When she didn't- it caught her off guard and she wasn't sure what to do. She had always planned her life but had never thought beyond that point. That resonated with me and since I wasn't sure why (I still have my mom, thank goodness, so I could not relate to the whole story) I kind of tucked it into the back of my mind and didn't think much about it again. Well- last night, while showering, it was like a ninja bomb (thanks Dane Cook for that term-lol) went off in my head. I got it. It came to me in a flash that I relate to that turn of a phrase because it is very much like my diagnosis with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I sincerely doubt that any of us planned for having Rheumatoid Arthritis invade our lives. When we were children we didn't sit there and dream "I am going to be a writer (lawyer, actress, comedian, fire fighter, cowboy, ballerina- chose your dream) and will live in a big house and wear fabulous clothes and have a disabling autoimmune disorder." I know that I didn't. When my diagnosis came- all my plans for my life came to a halt. Rather than doing all of the things I had planned; I was thrown into a life of finding what works for pain management, of trying to keep my immune system from revolting as I pumped it full of drugs designed to stop it from doing what it was doing, of raising awareness and learning to live with all of the other things that come with a disease with no cure.

Having a diagnosis of RA and Fibromyalgia on top of it (no one ever claimed I do things in half measures) was for me and many like me, the end of my life as I had known it. I was 38 years old and falling apart and that was NOT what I had planned. What I didn't think about, until I saw the Rosie & Oprah interview, was that it was a new beginning as well. If I look at it from this vantage point I can see that it truely was the beginning of the second half of my life. What I didn't think about was that I have been going through this journey a day at a time with no plan. I had avoided thinking about the future because I was afraid of the unknown and RA is the epitome of the unknown. Not knowing how I will feel and how my body will behave one day to the next has kept me in a sort of mental paralysis. But no more. I am inspired by those words in a way that Rosie will never know.

So the next fork in my road is to work on a plan. I have (hopefully) another 42 years in front of me. I have many things to look forward to that RA will never touch and I know, after four and a half years of living with this, where my limits are and what I can do. I can make a new plan for my life and work WITH my disease(s) and not against it. I don't have to let it stop me or hold me hostage any longer. More importantly, if I make my plan and my health goes south a bit, I can rework my map to accomodate the detour. It won't be easy to visualize my future but in the end the goals and dreams can be achieved if I find a way to keep them in sight while still living in the present.

So how about you? What is YOUR plan for the second half of your life?