Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Making a change

In the last bunch of days I have been giving myself the gift of a self-imposed mini-break from the internet.  I haven't been away completely; I have been on in the mornings but in the evening, as soon as dinner is ready I have been joining my other half in the living room and spending the evening with him and the pups.  It started without me really even realizing what I was doing.  We have very few shows that we watch together.  Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef, The Great Food Truck Race, Survivor-and a few sitcoms as well.  If you look at our DVRs, mine is more hour-long dramas and what he likes to call my "chick shows" (ie- Project Runway) while his is documentaries, sitcoms, comedy specials and stuff like that.

 After 25 years (28 if you are counting when we started dating), we have developed very big differences in our tastes.  We don't necessarily agree on movies, television shows, food or even what to do on the weekend.  Even though we do so very much together- heck, we rarely even go to the store alone; when we are at home together in the evenings we have fallen into the pattern of me in my "office" area, him in the living room.  He is watching his shows, more likely playing his Playstation 3 while I watch my shows and play around online.  It was as if we were in entirely separate places even though we are less than 10 yards apart.  For me it was time for me to relax my joints and muscles and let the day wash off of me, for him it was time to relax and de-stress after long days.  We would each eat dinner in our respective areas and then come back together to walk the pups.  Once we got home, it was go back to the way things were before we left until it was time for bed then we would talk.

The change started at the beginning of the summer while the Ramsay shows were on.  He would tape them and then we would watch them the next night while ate dinner.  During commercials we would talk about our day, we would walk the pups and then watch the next episode.  It was a nice change of pace for both of us so gradually I started joining him in the living room for dinner and just staying out there once we got back from the walk.  It was natural. Don't get me wrong- there are nights that we separate so we can each watch something the other is not interested in but for the most part- it has been nice.  I still don't talk too much about how I am feeling physically- I just don't want to gripe every night, but he can see when I get up to walk to the kitchen or the shower what the hot spots are.  I never would have anticipated this.  I know that sounds silly, I mean we ARE married and we ARE still pretty crazy about one another but when you spend every waking hour together other than work- it's natural to want a little time to yourself.  I think we just took our solitude and made it a habit.

 Fortunately- this is one of those habits that is easier to break than most.  All it took was me stepping away from my office area and him watching shows we both enjoy rather than playing video games.  Now we each get time when we first get home to chill out and after dinner we get to spend time together.    I still have my iPad when I want to play online and he has his pc next to his chair so he can play games on there while we sit there together.  I put this all out there so that if we are friends on Facebook or Twitter and you think I have disappeared- I am still here, just at a much smaller amount of time.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back on the Roller Coaster

I have shared RA Guy's Roller Coaster post here before.  If you haven't seen it, please check it out because it is exactly how MY RA feels much of the time.  Up and Down, up and down.  I am best managed by a solid routine- but my "routine" hasn't been solid now for....by the end of this week, 18 weeks.  That means that my roller coaster is moving at an even higher rate of speed.  I could sit here and give you a litany of the aches and pains, but I don't even want to go there.  You don't deserve to be bored that way and the less I think about it, the better.   One of the least pleasant side effects of this, however, is my *stupid* insomnia.

I have been up since 2am.  I have dried my still-wet-from-last-night's-shower hair, had a pot of Dunkin Donut's Pumpkin Spice Coffee (super yum, not sure if the half pound is worth the price of a full pound of regular, but I digress), decided what I want for dinner- and that it will require a stop at the store, read some stuff for work, played with the dogs, put them out, brought them back in, fed them breakfast, gave them treats, fiddled on Facebook, had a bowl of cereal, worked on my personal calendar, and now- when I would normally be getting ready for work- I am ready for a nap instead.  Oh- and I am working a minimum 10.5 hour days the rest of the week.  Needless to say- it's going to be a long one.  I still have to get dressed, flat iron the hair (it has a bump from putting it up wet), cut my mango and kiwi for lunch, and send some notes from my reading to my work email address.  My list of work to be done is pretty extensive this week so I will be making notes of my notes.  I have deadlines upon deadlines- punctuated by meetings.  The meetings greatly cut into my "real" work time.

All of this just serves to make me cranky.  Okay- crankier than usual.  I can't remember the last night I slept a full 8 hours.  Here's the thing.  While for many years I slept about 4 hours a night- that was by choice.  When it is not by choice- and when it is closer to 3 hours- I don't like it.  It's just another of those " I no longer control my own life" things that having a chronic illness brings.  I hate being out of control.  I don't like feeling powerless, especially when it's my own body and my own life that we are talking about.

So my question is this- what do YOU do when you feel like your illness is the one who has control over your life?  How do you take back your power over this disease?

I am thinking I can slip in a 45 minute nap right now but I will be checking back to see if you all have any ideas.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Don't count me out!

As a rule, I am very open about the fact that I live with both Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia.  I am most assuredly not ashamed of these illnesses because I know that I didn't do anything to "deserve" them or to "cause" them.  That said, I have found that there is a big difference between talking about it and acknowledging that I need help on occasion (stupid drink bottles can be a royal pain in my...hands) and publicly using assistive devices.  

It's funny, I can ask for help with carrying something or opening something or even having to sit down when my feet, back or hips start hurting and people don't think anything of it.  It's when I have to bring out the cane that suddenly people treat me as if I am a fragile flower and I am incapable of doing anything physical.  It's as if that cane is a visual cue that screams "SICK" or "IN PAIN".  The irony is that when I use my cane it is often because I have gone over that very thin line and the pain is beginning to affect my balance.  The pain level itself has something to do with it, but I can power through the pain, I am just afraid that I will fall.  That said- I have far worse pain in my back, in my neck my shoulders and my hands on a regular basis- you just can't see it because there is no cane for those body parts. 

The fact that I am treated so differently based on whether or not I need to use that cane makes me completely understand why many of  my CI friends are hesitant to discuss their illness with their employers.  I don't want to be viewed as ineffectual. The fact that my muscles or my joints are weak doesn't mean that I am weak. I don't want people to view me as "disabled" or have less confidence in my ability to perform my duties.  I don't want them to treat me as if I can't do something when I can, it just may take me a little longer.  

I don't want pity either.  The very last thing I want is for people to feel sorry for me.  I certainly don't feel sorry for myself and I don't understand why anyone would feel badly for me.  It's hard for me to accept when someone says "Oh, you poor thing" or "Oh, I am so sorry".  I don't quite know how to respond to that.  If I had the time I would tell them that living with the pain, the weakness in my joints and muscles and the knowledge that this is a life-long illness has made me stronger.  It has forced me to make changes in my life that have been such a blessing.  It has given me a reason to slow down and realize how lucky I am to have the wonderful friends and family that I have been given.  It has shown me how to appreciate the good days and it has shown me how to survive the bad with grace and humor.  Crazy as it sounds, it's almost been a gift.  

I would tell them that I do know my limits and for the most part I stick to them- but if I don't, I know the consequences and I can live with them.  I would tell them that it's far better to give me the option to try something and fail at it than to assume that I can't do it to begin with.  I would tell them that I am much stronger, internally and externally, than I look and just because I have this illness lurking inside me, it doesn't change my resolve.  I would tell them that whether it's true or not, when they don't allow me to make that decision on my own; it feels as if they don't believe in me.  I would tell them- Don't count me out, because I am more capable than even I knew; with or without my illness.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To Medicate or Not to Medicate?

There seems to be, in the Rheumatoid Arthritis/Fibromyalgia/ Autoimmune illness support boards that I am a member of, a wave of people who are ...hesitant to take different classes of medications for their illnesses. This is a rather touchy subject in general and the delivery of opinions has the ability to put people on the defensive about the choices they have made. Because of this, I have tried to stay as far away from it as possible. I will happily share my personal experiences but not give an opinion.

There are a couple of different schools of thought in this skirmish. First is the "all these medications are poison" group. These folks are the people who feel that we should not use drugs but should treat it naturally. I can completely understand the desire to manage the illness and achieving remission by changing your diet, adding supplements, or losing weight and exercising. If it were that simple we would all be in great shape and we would all be in remission. Sadly, we are not. I am in no way adverse to using " alternative" therapies such as acupuncture to control pain and eliminating foods if it keeps you from flaring. If it works for you, more power to you! The problem is that, as the commercial says; "Your RA is not my RA" and what works for you is not necessarily what will work for me. I would not presume to push my therapies on anyone & I have an expectation of the same respect. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. There are some who are so militant about not taking medication of any sort that I liken it to PETA taking on KFC. They will never even bend to acknowledge that there might be another way. How helpful or supportive is it to see comments like "well, if you want to slowly poison yourself..." or "the ONLY way to treat this is the way I do it!"

The second part of this is the anti-pain medication group. It's hard enough to deal with the people- be it family, colleagues, ER docs etc who don't understand the pain we live with- without having people in our own community second guess the choices we make in regards to pain management. The largest segment of this group seems to be the folks who are just past the stage of diagnosis and grieving and are beginning to really look at their disease as a reality. They are also beginning to take part in their treatment beyond just doing everything that the doctors suggest {**Disclaimer**. I am not even remotely advocating that anyone go against their doctor's recommendations; I merely feel very strongly that we must ACTIVELY partner with our doctors in our treatment because no one can listen to our bodies the way we can.} and they are beginning to question the different methods of pain management. The questions, if not phrased carefully in the community can come across as both accusatory and judgmental. An example of what I am talking about goes something like this: "Joan" posts that she is just back from her doctor who has prescribed Tramadol (aka Ultram) but she's not sure how she feels about it and wants to know what others have experienced with this drug. Joan receives 30-35 responses. Of those, the first 10 or so are from people who have taken the drug letting her know the good and the bad that they experienced. From "it really helped" to "It didn't touch my pain" to "It worked but I had these side effects" to "I had an allergic reaction"; any genuine and sincere response would help Joan make her decision. BUT- in comes the monkey wrench in the form of the naysayers. You know the ones that I am talking about. The ones who say "I wouldn't take that- you don't want to become an ADDICT!" or the "I don't care what the doctor says, I only take my pills once a day because they just work with Big Pharma and want us to buy more pills.". Or "Taking pain pills will only mask the pain*". Following the initial one of those comments, the conversation tends to devolve very quickly. The devolution usually begins with something like "I take that and I am NOT an addict!" and goes downhill from from there into an argument that becomes both heated & personal. When that happens, those first responses that are the information that Joan was looking for are drowned out by the bickering & may even serve to scare Joan away from asking from help in that forum for a long time. Rather destroys the "supportive" atmosphere of the community, wouldn't you think?

I want to take a moment to address the " masking the pain" comment. I have seen & heard that more than once. When I heard it from a person who is healthy & is not living with any illness, I could roll my eyes & take it for what it is worth. When I see it written as an admonishment by someone who claims to live with a chronic illness, I have this to say: There is a reason they call it chronic pain. It is NOT GOING TO GO AWAY! If you pull a muscle, or break your leg, have a surgical procedure or a toothache & want to refuse pain meds, more power to you. In those cases I don't like to take much more than OTC meds myself. The pulled muscle will rebound, the broken bone & surgical site will heal & a dentist can fix the tooth. Taking heavy pain meds to mask that kind of pain can indeed allow you to fool yourself into thinking you are farther along in the healing process than you are which can lead to a setback if you overdo things. I get that. The difference is that those conditions are temporary! When we take pain medications for a chronic illness, we can hope it masks the pain enough for us to be able to get back to living a productive life. If you choose not to take pain medications, or choose to take them in a different manner than prescribed, I will have little to no sympathy when you complain about the things you are unable to do because of your illness. That may make me uncharitable but I can live with that since you made your choice and had no problem chastising those of us who feel differently than you do.

Essentially there are two messages to put out there. 1- Chronic illnesses like RA are very individual. Each of us has differing amounts of pain & damage, different onsets & respond to different therapies. Sharing your experience can be very helpful, insisting that your way is the only way and being dismissive of any other treatment options, not so much. 2- I have seen the judgement and infighting destroy relationships over the years, prime examples are discussions about religion and parenting styles. I am over that kind of message board so when I see it start bubbling up and take over multiple threads, I un-join & don't look back. I don't feel that that kind of negativity is beneficial to my health so I move on to find a more positive place.

We have enough battles to fight, against our illnesses, against our insurance companies, to educate those who don't understand and such. We just don't need the added stress. It's a difficult decision whether or not to try different medications in hopes of taking back control of our lives. We just have to remember that no matter what anyone says, the decision has to be our own because we are the only one who will live with the consequences.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is there an app for that?

Have you ever thought about posting something and held off?  All day yesterday I wanted to post a specific post but I think it would have sounded pretty bitter so I thought the whole thing out, figuratively getting it off my chest- then let it go.  Also yesterday I composed a pretty long post about something that is beginning to concern me in some of the RA/Fibro support message boards that is ready to go and sitting on my iPad.  I have a pretty cool app that I like for blogging that will post straight from there to here.  I was planning on posting it today but decided to hold off when I had this little thought buzzing around in my head that I can't get rid of.

I love my iPad.  I like my iPhone a lot too- but I am really glad I bought the iPad.  I am currently playing a scrabble-like game (Words with Friends) with 8 different people all across the country.  I have my blogger app,  one called Editions which is a "newspaper" that AOL puts out that customizes the news content to your interests on a national and local level.  I love Flipboard.  Flipboard pulls together your Facebook, Twitter and other website news into one client as well.  I have Netflix on there- which I also enjoy, ESPN Scoreboard, GetGlue (think foresquare for entertainment), different games and my Nook - all of which I use every day.  It also is close enough to a laptop that I can tear myself away from my computer.   I have taken videos from it and emailed them directly to my son and sisters, and better pictures on both the iPhone and iPad that I have ever taken with a camera.  I have discovered that I actually DO take decent pictures- of landscape and the sky.  Not very exciting- but I have a thing about looking at the sky.  I can watch clouds for hours and love to lay out an look at the stars.  It reminds me that there is so very much more out there than just me.  It's a good way to check my self when I am feeling overwhelmed or when I am feeling a little too big for my britches.

What I was thinking last night- it came to me as I was just falling asleep was that I need an app for gratitude.  I am not great about journaling long-hand but if I see it sitting on the front page of my devices- it will prompt me. Plus- I think about something I am grateful for during the day and with my "RA/Fibro Fog- Swiss Cheese" brain- it's gone before I get home to my journal.  Having it with me electronically might help with that.  So this morning, I downloaded a couple.  We will see which one I like best.

While I was fooling around in the iTunes store, I plugged Kindness into the search engine.  From there I bought an app called "Abundantly Me" which gives me a task every day to have a positive effect on my world.  There is a website like that which I LOVE- but there is no app version of that one.

I honestly didn't think I would find these or anything like them.  I should have known better. What I need is an app that will let me sleep, will clean my house, will cook when I don't feel like cooking - you know, the daily things that are tedious or are not getting done completely.  Maybe what I really need is a time slowing app so that I can really get everything done.  Too bad that no developer is working on that one because I know a lot of people who could use it!  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Reality (?) TV

I have a small confession to make.  I enjoy Reality Competition shows.  This summer I am watching Project Runway, Big Brother (for the first time), Wipeout (SO FUNNY) and Top Chef Desserts.  Pretty much ANY food competition- from Iron Chef to Chopped to Food Network Challenge and Food Network Star- we will watch.  During the "regular" season I watch Survivor, Top Chef and occasionally Design Star.  

I also watch some of the...less competitive shows- What Not to Wear, Celebrity Rehab (It's a train wreck I can't stop looking at), Inside the Actor's Studio, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, DietTribe, Ghost Hunters, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Tabatha's Salon Takeover- you get the idea.  

That said- I feel that "reality" tv has gone too far.  I speak specifically of Toddlers and Tiaras.  There is a big controversy about this show at the moment.  One of the "parents" (and I use that term loosely) dressed her 3 year old in the same "costume" as Julia Roberts wore as a hooker in Pretty Woman.  Her defense to the controversy is "It's not like she's pushing the child into sports where she could get injured".  My two cents on this is very simple- and has not changed due to the controversy.  I feel that this show is nothing more than a parade of small children for pedophiles to get their jollies from.  I pretty much loathe everything it stands for.  I cannot believe that it is still on the air.  

I don't come into this based on news reports and such, I have actually sat through a few episodes in order to form my own opinion.  What I saw made me ill.  I saw "mothers"-and I put that in quotations because I have seen pro sports coaches who were easier on their players- who tarted these little girls up with fake tans, fake teeth (seriously?  Flippers because a child had the nerve to lose a tooth?), hair extensions and more makeup than I wear in a year.  I saw them teaching them to "walk sexy" and "flirt with the judges".  I saw them blow off their other kids because they were too busy coaching the little one.  I saw several of them literally spending their last dime on formal wear for their 3 -7 year old and deny their other children.  I saw them yelling and screaming  at one another and their children who had the nerve to get tired waiting around or not win.  That was just the parents.  

The kids were a whole different story.  Spoiled, obnoxious and bratty are the best way I can describe their behaviour.  I saw them kicking, hitting, biting and screaming at their parents.  I saw them behaving the same way with their siblings.  I saw them pulling the whole "mean girl" thing on one another while the parents encouraged it.  I saw them throw their things around and have hissy fits like I have never seen before because they were told "no".  Their whole lives are wrapped up in what titles and trophies they win.  How can any of this be healthy?  These children are taught that they are to focus on their looks and can get away with anything as long as they perform on cue.  

I feel like this show, and Jersey Shore (never seen it and won't watch) and the Real Housewives (seen it and won't watch) shows and the like are nothing more than rewarding people for bad behaviour.  The more obnoxious these people are- the better the shows do and the more attention the shows get.  I just don't understand that.  Now- Survivor has had a few of these obnoxious cast members- and while watching I hoped for them to be voted off every single week.  I don't think that behaving like an ass needs to be glorified.  I was SO disappointed that Survivor brought *Russell* back season after season.  It's not cute, it's not funny and to keep rewarding someone for being a jerk is not a good message to send.  

So if you watch any of these shows on a regular basis- please share with me what the appeal is for you.  I just don't get it.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Random Thoughts

I have been up since just before 2am.  It's not the puppies' fault this time but instead the insomnia is due to the fact that I am back to work today after a wonderful four-day weekend of napping and resting and relaxing.  The only "down" point this weekend was not getting to use the jets in the therapy pool yesterday because there was an AOA water pilates class in the pool after my yoga class.  Oh- and my left knee hates me and the elbow on the opposite side is on it's way.  We won't even talk about my back.  Physical junk aside- knowing I have to go back to work today did not give me a good night's rest.  I stared at the clock hour after hour until I finally gave up and came down and turned on my pot of java.  It's not the work per se that kept me up; it's knowing that there are a million things to do this week and even though I left a list before I left on Friday, I kept thinking of things that need to be done and the brain would not shut down.  So here we go with some random thoughts:

Until I got my own handicapped plate, I never really thought about who was parking in Handicapped spaces.  I never parked in one myself- I think it is EXTREMELY RUDE when someone does who doesn't have the appropriate hang-tag, sticker or plate.  On the other hand- maybe being rude and stupid is a handicap.

Speaking of parking spaces; I really have an issue with the "New and Expectant Mother" Spaces (aka the Stork parking depending on where you live).  I have been pregnant.  I have a 24 year old to prove it.  Pregnancy is not a disability.  I know women who act as if, because they are pregnant, they are incapable of doing anything remotely related to work and as if they deserve having everything done for them because they procreated.  Yep, it's uncomfortable to have to walk a long way when you are uber-pregnant but there is no regulation to these spots.  Just the other day, running errands, we parked about half way through the parking lot because all of the close spots were taken and as I hobbled up with my stupid cane, we passed the stork parking where 2 cars had just pulled in.  One was a little chickadee who was barely pregnant and was  giggling to her girlfriends about getting to take the close spaces for the next 7 months.  The other was a guy- no baby in tow- he just parked there and went inside.  Seems to me that if you NEED a close space because of a problem pregnancy, you should be issued a (very) temporary handicap hang-tag.  Heck- I don't care if they issue them for 3 months at the end of pregnancy through a standard maternity leave, but I do care when they take handicapped spaces away for this kind of thing.  If they don't want to change the sign- have OBGYN's issue a special hang tag that lasts through 6 weeks after the due date when it's needed- but only when it's needed.

Sally Hansen Crackle nail polish is fun.  I don't know about you but it's the little things that make me happy.  I bought two colors of this stuff- Antiquated Gold (which I am wearing on my toes over Sally Hansen Forbidden Fudge) and Ink Splatter (which I am wearing on my fingers over Sally Hansen Tyin' the Knot).  It took half of forever to find the black (Ink Splatter) and next I am putting it over Revlon's Lasting Mocha or OPI Chicago Champagne Toast.  It's an overcoat.  You put on your regular polish as usual, then put on a coat of the Crackle and as it dries, it does just what it says, it splits open in random patterns and leaves a neat look all over the nail.  Giving yourself a mani with RA hands can be tough and time consuming- but the results are worth it.  My nails are not in terrific shape to begin with- they tend to crack and split, but when I have polish on them, I tend to be more aware of them.  Here's a picture of the hands that I took to share with my friend who turned me on to this the other day:

Side note- operating a camera on a cell with one hand and midget fingers- not so easy!

This next thought is two-fold:

1- Sales clerks and cashiers are people too.  As you may know- I am in a sort of specialized retail business.  It's tough when your customers have to buy the product and just plain don't want to have to spend the money.  That said, my booksellers in the aisles and cashiers don't control the prices, I don't control the prices, heck- my COMPANY doesn't control the prices.  We purchase from publishers, distributors and wholesalers and the contract that we have with our client sets the mark up. Incidentally- it's the smallest margin I have ever seen.  Not only is the standard industry mark-up lower than most anything (Computers are the only thing I can think of that is lower) but our specific contract is lower than the industry standard.  We work extremely hard to have the correct product on the shelves when the students need them, we work extremely hard to give the best customer service possible (and our secret shopper scores reflect that) and yet we take more verbal abuse face to face than any other industry that I can think of.  I don't know when manners went straight out the window but I was not raised to treat people like that.

2- The words YOU PEOPLE makes me crazy.  As in "I don't know how you people sleep at night."  or "You people are ripping us off." or "I bet you people are enjoying that fat Mercedes out in the parking lot with what you charge."  (that said to a woman who drives a 14 year old Ford) "I can't believe you don't have the size I need- you people are incompetent!".  This is the kind of thing that is said to my booksellers on a regular basis.  It makes me crazy.  Does it make them feel better to be nasty to the person ringing up the sale?  And this is not just students, it is their parents too.  Way to set an example.

Now- not all customers are like this- it's probably one in 100 or more, but they are the ones that stand out and can ruin someone's day. One of my "kids" (we hire between 10-12 temps every semester to help us with the influx) said to me the other day "I can't believe the way people talk us.  It's horrible!  I don't know how you do this all year long!"  My point here is this- when you go to any store and you are not satisfied with the product selection or when you go to a restaurant and you are not satisfied with the food, or when you go to have any type of service performed and are not pleased with the prices; please, I beg of you, remember that your cashier, your receptionist, your server- has no control over anything but your experience.  They don't control the prices, they don't control the product selection, they don't control how your food is cooked.  They control how friendly they are, they control how their portion of the service is performed; that is all.  Most importantly, they are people just like you.  They have families, they have responsibilities, they have hobbies and interests outside their work.  They have good days and bad.  You don't know what they are going through or have been through in their lives.  You don't see the work that goes in to getting ready for you to be there.  Trust me- 90% of those people (and the other 10% won't last long) work their tails off to be sure that their place of business is clean, stocked and ready for you.  The magic fairies that do all the grunt work have all quit and it's up to us.  So unless the person waiting on you is rude or truly provides bad service, don't take the frustration out on them.  Actually, even in the event of bad service- pointing it out to them probably won't help- you should talk to a manager and if that is not satisfactory, go up the chain to corporate if needed.

Well, that's on what is bouncing around in my brain this morning.  Time to go cut my fruit, get my shower and  get ready to head back to work.  I hope you have a terrific day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day is Feeling Appropriate This Year

According to the US Department of Labor, the Labor Day holiday is this:

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  

Well, after the last six or so weeks, I am truly feeling the meaning of the holiday this year. I have been working hard- far too hard.  So much has changed in my profession since I started this seven years ago.  When I got into the college bookstore business there was no online ordering and this year I would estimate that we pulled, pack and processed over 1600 orders.  When I started in this business, we did not have textbook rentals, this semester we had over 300 titles that were available to rent.  When I started in this business, there were no digital titles, this semester we had hundreds of titles available.   Each of these processes are a lot of additional work, and like every industry- with the recession means far less payroll.  In the last two years- after the initial "right sizing" (losing 3 full-timers) and the retirement of our store manager (with no replacement of hours- so that's 160 hours a week in total from when I came to this store) -I have lost an additional 15% of payroll.  The work cannot suffer- so my Assistant Manager and I have been working our tail feathers off for 6 weeks or so.

 I am flat out exhausted, just over a rather large flare and still feeling a small but persistant one with only two "good" days in between.  I have taken most of the last three days to rest, relax, and do nothing more than watch movies and tv shows, nap and snuggle with my family.  Essentially, I have been a bump on a log since my infusion Friday.

Today, we are going to go to the Zoo, we have a yearly membership and our zoo has a new baby polar bear that we have yet to see.  The heat has broken and it's a very cool 73 here today.  Perfect weather for a stroll around our little zoo to see the animals and shake off the cobwebs. Then when I get home I will take a nap and get some of my box of magazines gone through.  Hubby parboiled some country style ribs last night so we can toss them on the grill today along with packets of potatos, carrots and onions for dinner.  I am also stopping for parchment paper so I can make the Chex version of Rice Krispy Treats for my lunch box.

  It's time to stop burrowing in and start living again.  I gave my assistant manager Friday off and I am taking tomorrow.  I am going back to my Yoga class (THANK GOD because it helps so much) , going to sit in the therapy pool with the jets as long as I can, then run some errands and get some housework done.   I am still going to take it easy- but I am more than ready to get back to my routine.  Tomorrow, while I am in the lazing around phase I am going to figure out how to give myself time for Yoga, time to walk more, time to write, time to relax.  Basically, restructuring my routine to get all of the things I want done.  When I go back on Wednesday- I will need to look forward to the things we need to get done and how to integrate it into my new routine.

I hope you have a lovely holiday today- and rest as it is meant to be.