Friday, April 29, 2011

Reward Systems?

The final goal in my long, long (did I say LONG?) weight loss journey is just over 60 lbs. That's a lot of weight.  I cannot imagine how...light... I will feel when it's gone.  More- when I pick up a box that heavy (and we do have them in my job) I can't believe that I am carrying that around on a regular basis.  I think that it might be a good idea that I put a 60lb box in my office, maybe try to pick it up on a regular basis.  Then again- that would probably make me cry- which I wouldn't want to do at work.  There is a study that says that losing one pound of weight takes four pounds of pressure off of your knee joints.  When I make my goal- I will have removed 240 lbs of pressure from my knees- that's far more than my starting weight!  Crazy huh? 

Anywho- I need something to work toward.  When you think of losing 60 lbs it's very overwhelming.  WW suggests smaller goals so here is what I am thinking:

Every 5lbs, a bouquet of fresh flowers.  I love flowers!  If I give myself a bouquet for every 5lbs, I have 12 bouquets to look forward to. 

At 20lbs, I get new "blingy" collars for the puppies.

At 30lbs- half way there- I get a spa service

At 40 lbs I get a carriage ride in Louisville

At 50 lbs I get a new wardrobe

At 60 lbs I get a new ring. 

I was thinking last night that maybe I can use this same system to quit smoking.  The problem is that it took me quite some time to come up with this list- and this isn't that many things.  :-)  I guess that's the problem and advantage all at once with being an empty nester.  If we want something, we just get it because we are past the expense of raising a child.  But here is what I was thinking in terms of quitting smoking traditional cigarettes ( I am going to use electronics to quit). 

At 24 hours- I get a new bottle of "girly" lotion. 

At one week I get Zumba fitness for either the Wii or the PS3

At two weeks I get a mani/pedi

At three weeks I get 3 new soy candles

At one month I get new sneakers

At 3 months I get  a Bed Bath and Beyond Gift Certificate

If/When I can accomplish these two very big goals- especially at the same time- I will have made huge strides in caring for ME.  Both will help with my RA and Fibro, as well as other internal systems.   One of our "problems" as women is that we take care of everyone else first and let ourselves go in the process.  But if we don't take care of ourselves- who will?  It's time that I do something big for me- and therefore, these are my goals. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Taking control of my weight loss efforts.

     I have been very public with my struggle with my weight.  Over the last year I have been back on Weight Watchers.  I have struggled with the same 5lbs over and over in that whole time.  STOP- before you think "gee- Weight Watchers must not work!" it must be taken into account that I have been on Prednisone- which is notorious for causing weight gain- the entire time.  When you go to the doctor as often as we do, and when we are sitting there side by side with infusions pumping into our bodies- we tend to talk about our medications and side effects and there is a young lady who started Prednisone the same time as I did and by Thanksgiving (7mos in) she was up 54lbs.  I credit WW with me not having a gain period, much less over 50lbs.

One thing that I love about Weight Watchers is that there is nothing- absolutely nothing- that is off limits.  The school of thought is - everything in moderation and if you are going to have something that would traditionally be considered "bad"- plan for it.  Their guiding principle is the basic for any weight loss- Eat Less, Move More.  It's that simple.   Of course- that's easier said than done in many cases. 

When we are faced with a chronic illness- especially one that is centered around chronic pain (Hello RA and Fibro in my body!)  the Move More part of that principle is particularly challenging.  Not only does traditional exercise just plain hurt, but one of the "side effects" of chronic pain is chronic fatigue.  It's just plain exhausting to hurt all the time.  When I get home after a long day- I am wiped out and don't want to even think about driving to the gym, working out for 30-60 minutes, driving home, starting dinner, cleaning up and all the rest of the evening "stuff".  If I did that, I wouldn't get to bed until goodness knows when.  When you consider that I get up no later than 4:30 so I can be "unkinked" in time to go to work and be productive- it makes me shudder.  Well, I am trying a new (to me) solution for that.  There is a relatively new school of thought that you don't have to do 30-60 minutes all at once to have an effect.  You can do non-traditional exercise and spread it out in short bursts over the day and it still counts.  That seems far more managable to me. 

My plan?  I am starting by doubling my stairs.  When I went up this morning to get dressed, I went up, came right back down and went right back up.  I am also putting my downstairs half-bath off limits except for hair and makeup.  I keep them there so hubby and I can get ready at the same time.  If I use the upstairs bathroom- and do the up-down-up thing, I will exponentially increase my stair climbing.  At work we are in a heavy web order time.  Rather than filling all the order that need to be shipped and then wheeling them all back to the UPS pick up area, I will fill an order then walk it back immediately.  That adds steps to my day.  Then there are commercials.  In this day of the DVR/Tivo, most of us fast forward through those annoying ads.  Well, I am thinking why not use those to my advantage?  If I get up and walk in place (during boring commercials) or dance (to the ones with catchy tunes) or just do a few yoga poses every single time- that's 17 minutes per hour show.  Two tv shows a day won't even dent my DVR but it will give me over 30 minutes of exercise!  Hubby works almost every Saturday so I can take that time to "give" myself a trip to the Y on the weekends.    We pay for the membership but I have found that it's very hard for me to work that in during the week.  On the other hand, it's very good for me to spend time in the therapy pool so I need to give myself the gift of the time to do it.  If I go to my folks, I can give myself (and at least one of the puppies) a nice long walk.  Goodness knows I get up early enough that I should be able to get my rear end out there and take the walk before my parents get up. 

As for the Eat Less portion- that can be a challenge too when you are a "volume eater" like I am.  What I have learned with WW is that I can eat as many fruits and (most) veggies as I like, and treat everything else like a side dish.  I use the small (10") plates for my meals while Hubby uses the "normal" plates.  I also eat my veggies first. If I want seconds- I wait at least 20 minutes to see if I am REALLY hungry or if I just want more because I ate without paying attention.  I have stocked up on high volume/low "points" foods like light popcorn, grapes, baby carrots and other snacky items.  I also have a heavy sweets thing in the evening.  Over the year that I have been with WW I have learned portion control and that I can make a pint of Ben and Jerry's last for 4 servings if I make ice cream cones rather than putting it into a bowl (where it looks SO small) or eating right out of a carton.  I have learned to split my higher "points" sweets and snacks into serving sizes immediately after bringing them home so that I don't have a whole bag or box in front of me.  It only takes a minute or two to take scones or muffins or whatever into freezer quality ziploc bags and toss them into the freezer.  If they are just sitting on the table- I will do the "I have to eat these now because I don't want them to go bad" thing.  Another advantage to breaking up the snacks is that I can grab them and go.  I do it with PopChips (if you haven't tried these- you are SO missing out), almonds,  pretzels- anything I buy to snack on- and put them in my "snack drawer" so they aren't in sight all of the time but easy to grab on my way out the door in the morning.  The most important thing is that I don't deny myself anything.  If I want a plate of spaghetti with sauce- I have it.  I just plan ahead for it by either having very low points things all day or by earning extra points through activity. 

There are two very important things that I have learned by sitting in my meetings almost every week.  The first is to stop beating myself up when I go off plan for a meal.  Just because I went over my allotted "points" for dinner tonight or dessert or even a whole day- it doesn't mean I have completely derailed my efforts.  The message is much like that of AA.  It's that we must take our efforts one meal at a time.  If we get off track, get back on track the very next meal.  The second thing I have learned is that I must make this lifestyle change about me.  I deserve good foods. I deserve to feel better. I deserve the time it takes to do the extra movement.  I deserve the benefits that losing the weight will give to my body in terms of lessening the stress on my already under attack joints.  I may have to work harder for this because of the challenges of the side effects of the medications and the pain associated with traditional exercise- but I am worth the extra effort. 

Tomorrow- how I intend to reward myself to keep my motivation. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I know who I am not

I was reading one of my many newsletters this morning.  I was reading an article about 20 questions that everyone should ask themselves when I came across this question: 

How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it?

The article (By Martha Beck  O, The Oprah Magazine From the February 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine) went on to say this: 

 Your existence is already a factor in world history—now, what sort of factor do you want it to be? Maybe you know you're here to create worldwide prosperity, a beautiful family, or one really excellent bagel. If your impressions are more vague, keep asking this question. Eventually you'll glimpse clearer outlines of your destiny. Live by design, not by accident.

Well- I don't know the answer to the question.  At this point my impressions are very, very vague.  As with most of these articles I think about my life as a whole.  I think about what I am doing in terms of work, in terms of my relationships with my loved ones, with my friends, with aquaintances and with strangers.  I think about these illnesses that I live with and the network I have surrounded myself with and how we support one another.  I think about what I do, and what I would like to do for others.  It's a lot of soul searching.  I am going to think long and hard on what the authentic answer is, but in the meantime- I do know what difference I won't be making in this world. 

There are people like me who have let their health situation consume their every waking moment in a way that leads them to nothing but misery.  They talk about nothing more than how much pain they are in, how their doctor's aren't treating them properly, that no one can possibly understand.  They get to the point that they lose sight of any good in their lives.  I am incredibly thankful that that's not me. 

There are people like me who have taken their situation and use it to educate others.  They find the inner strength to be the voice of the chronically ill and who fight every single day to get the word out about every aspect of their illness.  They teach those not affected about our invisible illness.  They open the curtains on the doctor/patient relationship.  They advocate through their writing and through social media.  They make a difference within the community by providing a forum for the newly diagnosed to find answers and the "old hats" to express their frustration.  They are the hard hitting reporters with a big story- one they cannot get away from.  I am not that person either- I just don't have the patience for it in my life. 

There are people like me who take their situation and use it as a stepping stone to something greater.  They take the challenges of living with a chronic illness and find ways to turn them into positives that they can use to help others.  They find their inner peace and share it with the world.  They use it as a way to share the inner light that is just inherant to them with a much larger audience.  The difference that they make is to lift up those they can reach- and keep reaching farther and farther.  I strive to find that peace and positivity- but I have a long way to go before that can be me. 

There are those who have been married as long as I have who have never worked outside the home. They are content raising their children and making their house a home for their family. They take pride in their skills as domestic goddess.  When I was younger and raising Josh, not only was that not feasible economically but I don't know that I would have had the patience and I KNOW that I didn't have what it takes to be a stay at home mom.  It's just not me. 

There are those who are in the same position that I am in professionally who are terrific at what they do.  They enjoy the social aspect of their job.  They have the talent to diffuse any situation and they are so mellow that they can fit in with most any situation.  They are equally talented at both sides of our "world" (both textbooks and general merchandise) and are successful at managing their business and their situation.  I fall somewhere in the middle there.  I admire their ability to navigate the politics, to take a tense encounter and turn it around and to stay on top of the trends and do it all at once.  That is most assuredly not me. 

It seems, reading back through this, that there are a lot of things that I am not.  The good thing is that with this question rumbling around inside of my head, I get the opportunity to find out who I am.  I get the opportunity to really figure out how I want to leave my mark on the world.  I get to decide what I want my legacy to be- and to make that happen.  For that I can be eternally grateful. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

My own worst enemy

 Bullying has been quite a hot button topic in the last year.  From our government who hosts a well rounded Stop Bullying website to educate everyone as to what bullying is, what forms it can take and how to stop it;  to The Trevor Project and the It Gets Better campaign which aim to prevent suicide amongst LGBT and other bullied kids and teens, the subject of bullying is getting a lot of attention.  On a more local level, the school in which I am located has created "Safe Zones", one of which I am proud to host, and we are working on student training for the fall based on our safe zone training that we hope has quite an impact and has a ripple effect to make people stop and think about how they treat others.   Bullying is not a new phenomenon but our hope is to make it one that is outdated. 

     It would be a little too..."Pollyanna-ish" of me to say that I just want to see people treat one another nicely.  Rather, I would just like to see us return to civility.  In my almost 30 years of working with the public I have seen countless times people treating one another badly.  People will say things and do things to store clerks, cashiers, waiters, bartenders and other service professionals things that they would NEVER say to someone that they know personally.  They treat people in ways that they would not tolerate someone else treating their families.  Whether it comes from a place of entitlement or a need for power it underscores the sense that people are willing to treat other people like total crap in order to get what they want.  No matter what that drives that behavior, I feel that this is also a form of bullying.  It's unacceptable and it needs to stop even if it's only one person at a time.  This is a passionate subject for me.  If there is one thing that working with the public in different capacities has taught me it is to stop and think before I speak in public situations and to be mindful of the other person involved and how my words can affect them.   

    I was sitting on my bed Wednesday night, kicking myself over an ongoing issue, having a pity party with my friends Ben and Jerry when I had a bit of an epiphany.  No matter how civil I am to anyone else, for years I have been bullying myself.  We often say, usually when referring to the choices that we make, that someone is their own worst enemy.  As I sat there calling myself all sorts of names (Stupid,Useless, Fat, No Will Power and more) I stopped for a second and really listened to myself.  In that moment I thought "Whoa!  I wouldn't let anyone else talk to me this way, and I wouldn't speak to someone else that way so why am I doing it to myself?"  That led me to thinking back over the years to the very number of times that I have torn myself down and then beat myself up while I am there.  It had obviously been so often that I do it without even thinking about it.  It shook me to my core to realize that if my husband were constantly talking to me the way that I talk to myself, it would be considered an abusive relationship and if I talked to my staff or my friends that way, I would be considered a bully!  What resonated with me most was that maybe I AM my own worst enemy! 

    As this is a new revelation for me, I haven't worked out where this is going to take me in my life's journey.  I am left wondering how much this denigration has held me back.  I am wondering how I can turn this situation around and make it a positive.  I am wondering how to stop this cycle.  I think my first step will be to find fitting affirmations and keep them with me. The lesson here is that no matter how positive we are in our "waking" moments, that negativity can creep back in at any time.  I think this will teach me to be on my guard.  I hope that it will teach me to be more aware of my thoughts, no matter how fleeting because they can derail your efforts in an instant.  One thing I know for sure is that if I am to work in the Anti-Bullying movement, I have to start with the way I treat myself. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Something Students These Days Should Know

     I work in the higher education arena.  On a day to day basis I am in constant contact with students.  I am both old enough to be their mother and I work in retail.  Both of these make me fairly invisible to your average 18-20 year old college student going about their day.  What that means is that they will carry on conversations both on their phones and in person as if I weren't there and that gives me some insight into where they are in their lives and what they are thinking.  Additionally I have hired, worked with (and fired) a LARGE number of college students in my "past life".  I have alternately loved them like my own children and spent a lot of time shaking my head at the way their brain works. If I had the opportunity to share lessons with our current students this is what I would say: 

1-  In 5 years most of what feels like a crisis now just won't matter.  It's funny because I have found that many of our freshman and sophomores treat college as an extension of high school and bring the drama with them.  Recently, in the ladies room, two girls were freaking out about some other girl and a boyfriend situation.  I had to smile inside because no matter how big that seemed in the moment, it probably won't matter even by the time they leave college. 

2- How you treat people reflects more on you than it does on them.  Bullying is a huge topic in the news right now but bullying is not the only bad behavior that shows its ugly head.  Remember cliques?  They are alive and well.  Sadly, I even know some adults who still feel ostracized by the "mommy cliques".  I cannot say often enough that there is NOTHING that makes you "better than" about being in a club, a fraternity/sorority, a clique.  How you speak to and treat people; be it other students, your professors, my staff, even your family members, says everything about who you are as a person and nothing about the other person. 

3-  Nothing in life; not your possessions, not any service, not your education, not your job or paycheck, not respect; NOTHING is deserved; you have to earn it.  Society is very different now than when I was a child.  I could enumerate for days the way things have changed but nothing has changed so much as parenting.  We hear about helicopter parents and in my work life I have seen a lot of it.  The problem with Mom and Dad hovering over their children and running interference on a constant basis is that these kids develop an attitude of entitlement.  We see it every single day and it makes me sad.  At some point these students will be out in the world and in a position where Mom and Dad cannot bail them out and they will not know how to handle the situation on their own.  It will be an incredibly rude awakening.  I have given a few of those wake up calls when parents have tried to interfere with employment issues with my staff.  We are supposed to be preparing our children to become productive members of society and that starts with taking responsibility for their own actions. 

4- Life is what you make of it.  I have mentioned before that one of the things that makes me crazy is the "phrase" FML (F**k My Life).  This lesson is very basic:  Drama breeds more drama, negativity breeds more negativity and on the flip side, positivity breeds more positivity.  If you are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, not only will it drop but you will miss all of the great things that you let pass you by while you were too busy lamenting how bad you have it.  Before you say "FML" stop and think.  There are thousands- no millions- who have it worse than you.  Be grateful for all that you have because if you are here, you are in school, you have resources at your disposal to learn, you can feed yourself, you have friends, you have family- you are so very blessed.  Even if you only have ONE of those things, you are better off than many. 

When you begin to appreciate your the things you have in your life, when you acknowledge your blessings, when you take responsibility for your words and actions, a new world will open up for you and you will like the direction in which you are heading. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mama Kat's Writing Prompts

I recently discovered a blog called "Mama's Losing It".   It can be found here:  Mama’s

In addition to a pretty irreverant blog, Mama Kat posts a weekly list of Writing Prompts which (as a part of her writer's workshop) are designed to make us think and get our creative juices flowing.  Today (though it's the middle of the night, I am still considering this Wednesday) I am feeling very grateful for Mama Kat's blog and her prompts because I am feeling very stuck working on book #2 and I am hoping that working through this exercise at least for a few weeks will shake things loose in this brain of mine. 

In the same vein, I picked up a "Writer's Toolbox" at B&N a couple of visits ago and it's time to get working with that as well. 
This week I will be writing on the topic "Something students these days should know" from the "Mama's Losing It" blog.  I am going to try to work this topic into the general basis behind my blog and focus on positive lessons but since I think there might be a little snark hiding in there so I am not sure that I will keep posting these exercises here or on a different blog. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sometimes you just need a good laugh

If you need a good laugh- check out this blog: 

Most of these made me giggle at the ingenuity of man.  Some just made me shake my head.  ALL made me glad I am not married to these guys. 

I hope this brings you a laugh to begin your Monday!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mom was right....AGAIN!

It's been 24 years since I was pregnant with my son.  It was during that 40 weeks that I got my first inkling of how truly brilliant that my mom is.   In the time since I produced Number 1 Grandchild,  I have learned to listen to Mom on a regular basis, even if I didn't always act on her words of wisdom.

A month or so ago Hubby and I were at Mom and Dad's house and we mentioned that we both needed to have eye exams.  Hubby has been passively complaining for months about "going blind" and I have noticed that my vision wasn't as wonderful as it had been when it self-corrected back when I was 35.  I also have had an issue since I started my pain med combo a few years ago with dry eyes that only got worse with a year on prednisone.    Three years ago- shortly after my new meds (at the time) I bought the first bottle of Visine that I ever needed for reasons other than.....recreational recovery...    Mom said at that time "Be prepared, you are both at the age when you will probably need bifocals!" We laughed and said something to the effect of "It's not THAT bad!" and that was the end of the conversation.

Well- Mom was right.  Just about $650 later we have our new glasses.  While we were waiting for them to be   made (gotta love Lenscrafters and their In About an Hour thing) I called my parents and said "So- are you going to throw us a "Welcome to the Bi-focal Club" party?"  Dad just laughed and laughed and laughed.  He then promised to have some "old fart" food on hand next weekend when we come visit again.  They are just so funny.  :-/

The bright side of this whole adventure in learning that Mom is always right?  The next generation is already on that path.  Josh's current girlfriend has two little people of her own.  In the year that he has been with her- he has called me half a dozen times to tell me I was right about this or that.  The very best thing I have ever heard from him was when he told me that he always thought we had it so easy as parents- but he has realized that we made it LOOK easy.  When he said that, I was so touched that I almost cried and it's for that reason that I didn't give my parents a giant raspberry and (as I often do) made sure that they knew that I knew that they were right.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A double challenge

     Yesterday at Weight Watchers our fabulous leader, Valerie, was a little dismayed with us.  The topic of the day was "It's all about ME!"  She started by asking us a simple question- "How many of you have done something or taken time just for yourself this week?"  Her dismay came when only two hands went up in a room of 20 or so women.  One had gotten together with a girlfriend to go for a walk.  The other had taken a nice long bubble bath with a book while her family was out.  Those were good ideas- and they received "bravos" for it, but it wasn't near enough of us. 

     I really wracked my brain to see if I had done anything that is just for "me".  I have napped- but that was because I am still recovering from my trip and am dealing with chronic fatigue.  I spent the weekend with my family and had a lovely visit with my sister and her family- but if they hadn't flown in I would have spent the weekend doing housework and would have worked Monday and Tuesday- and being able to spend time with them was not purely in my control.  They flew in, I didn't go to them.   

     After listening to all of our excuses (no time, no money, too many other obligations etc) Valerie gave us two challenges to complete before next Wednesday's meeting.

 1- to do something that is strictly for us and strictly brings us pleasure.

 2- To make a list of 10 things that we can do for ourselves any time we have a little bit of time and stick it on our fridge so that we see it all of the time. 

     I think the hard part for me will be taking "me" time without guilt.  It's funny because I always thought that as an "empty nester" I would be able to come and go as I please.  Now I schedule my life around my puppies schedule (gotta be home at 7:30 to walk them, don't want to be gone all day and all evening and leave them alone) and the other half and I spend most of our waking time together.  We go and run errands together, we walk the dogs together, we rarely do ANYTHING apart.  The only time we are apart is when we are working and when I travel to my parents and he cannot go because of work.  I feel bad when I leave him at home to go do something that is "fun" for me.  That's something that I need to get past so I can step up to this challenge. 

    So can I step up and do something just for me?  I think I can.  I know I am going to try.  I have 7 days.  The first thing I am going to work on is my list of things I can do for myself, things that don't cost a lot in terms of time or money but that bring pleasure and peace to my soul. 

    What about you?  Do you have things that you do that are just for you?  Things that have nothing to do with your spouse, your kids (two or four legged), grandkids, your chronic illness or your job?  Things that are all about "you time"?    

Friday, April 8, 2011

Own It!  from the Black Eyed Peas wrote a song for the new Oprah Winfrey Network that I really like.  It's all about reaching for and owning your dreams.  I fully believe that we have to have and reach for our dreams.  Without that- what do we have?  Without dreams, we are just existing day by day.  As long as we have our dreams- anything is possible. 

The lyrics are first with the video beyond it. 

All my dreamers
All my believers
Tomorrow, lead us

If you've been dreamin'
For all your life
This is your chance

Everybody is a star
It don't matter who you are, no
Keep on reachin' for your dreams
'Cuz it ain't as crazy as it seems

We are callin' all the dreamers
We are callin' the believers
Looking for the big achievers
Keep on reachin' for your dreams

Hey, say
I wanna own it, wanna wanna, own it
I wanna own it, wanna wanna, own it
I wanna own it, wanna wanna, own it
I wanna own it, wanna own it

I wanna own it, that's the way I want it
The way I want it, that's the way I want it
I wanna own it, that's the way I want it
I wanna own it

This is your chance to own it
This is your chance, you own it
This is your chance, don't blow it
Go out and own it, ow-own it

Anybody could be famous
It don't matter what your name is
It's your moment, baby, claim it
Go out and own it, go out an own it

Will I make it? Is what I wonder
I want the top, but not the under
I wanna do it big like Oprah
I wanna own it, I wanna ow-ow-ow-own it
I wanna own it, wanna wanna, own it
I wanna own it, wanna wanna, own it
I wanna own it, wanna wanna, own it
I wanna own it, wanna own it

I wanna own it, that's the way I want it
The way I want it, that's the way I want it
I wanna own it, that's the way I want it
I wanna own it

This is your chance to own it
This is your chance, you own it
This is your chance, don't blow it
Go out and own it, go out and ow-own it-it
Uh-huh, Uh-huhuh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh

Go out and own it, Go out and own it
I'm a dreamer
I'm a beliver
A tomorrow leader
And I've been dreaming for all my life
This is my chance......

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Exhaustion has set in

     And it's time to rebound. 

     It's been a rough couple of weeks.  Last week was my annual tradeshow.  I was so grateful for my meds.  Two of the days I wore my pedometer while on the show floor.  One day was 3.5 miles and the next 5.24- and that doesn't include walking in the evenings.  By the last night, which was our celebration party- I was literally rocking back on my heels and trying not to put too much pressure on the balls of my feet and toes.  I stayed long enough to see my Territory win the "karaoke" contest (we have some seriously talented people in our company- they were all terrific and it was a tough competition) and then caught the first bus back to the resort.  By the time my colleagues came back I was sitting on the porch in a rocking chair, in my pajamas (they are super comfy and *almost* something I could wear out in public- if I didn't know they were pajamas-lol) with spa socks on my swollen and hurting feet with my cane helping me get around.  

     Like many I don't sleep well in hotels.  Despite having a whole bed with no tall hubby, no puppies, and all of the wonderful pillows (what is it about hotel pillows that make them so fluffy?) to myself, I just can't get comfortable.  Since I have been back home I have continued the pattern.  That means I am sleeping in snatches most of the night.  What doesn't help is that I ran out of some of my meds that help me sleep and had to wait for my doctor's office to call them in.  I had enough to get  me through the trip but realized I was "short" when I filled my weekly pill box on Saturday.  I finally picked them up last night.  Totally my own fault.  My doc gave me the scripts when I saw her on the 11th of last month and I thought I would save myself the 20+mile trip until I used up the ones I had (she upped my Flexeril and Neurontin) and in the meantime lost the papers.  Dumb, dumb, dumb on my part.  I won't do that again.  Next time- I go straight from her office to the pharmacy. 

     It's funny.  I should be close friends with insomnia by now but I am just not.  The meds help.  I still get up in the middle of the night several times (one of my pups is older and has to be helped up and down on and off the bed- and the other one is just spoiled and if his "sister" gets help up- he wants it too) but I don't remember doing it- so it "feels" like I slept through.  Without the meds, and/or with an up level in my pain scale I remember every time I get up and know just how many times I saw my clock- and that leads to exhaustion.  What exhaustion does to me most is scramble my brain.  Though I am physically dragging, that is not as annoying as losing my focus.  Several times since I got home late Friday night I have sat down at this PC and tried to come up with a post and it just didn't happen.  I would look at my blank screen and realize that my brain was just as blank.  That's annoying.  I would look at this screen and realize that I needed to save what little focus I have for my job.  Also annoying.  When I get home from work I am just toast.  I watch TV mindlessly and snuggle my pups but everything else kind of falls by the wayside. 

     Despite all of that, I remain grateful.  Grateful for a hubby who steps up as much as he can, and understands that I am not in a "Wonder Woman" state of mind.  Grateful for my puppies who don't mind Mama being "less than" and needing to just cuddle.  Grateful that my sisters and their families are coming to visit on two separate weekends this month so I get to see them.  Grateful that my parents are as well as they are and don't need my care and are satisfied just to spend time with me even when I have to nap in the middle of a visit.  Grateful that my staff "gets it" and leaves me to deal with what I can.  Grateful for weekends when I can decompress and be a slug if necessary.  Grateful that I have a son who, though he is an adult with his own life in a separate state, calls me almost daily and sometimes more than once a day, just to keep in touch.   Grateful that my learning sessions at the tradeshow were so very beneficial in my professional life.  Grateful that the changing role in my professional life will be one that I can handle no matter how exhausted I feel physically. Grateful for clothes loose enough that they don't touch my bruised-feeling body.   Grateful for friends who understand, both those who go through this just like I do and those who have been with me since my pre-RA/Fibro life and have seen the changes I have made. The gratitude is what keeps me going when I am starting to head down Pity-Party Lane and puts me back on You-Can-Do-This Boulevard.  

So that's where I have been both physically and mentally.  Now it's time to start back on the road to being whole again.  Okay- maybe not whole but functional.  I can settle for functional and that would be another thing to be grateful for in the long run.