Monday, December 5, 2016

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I don't know about you but I find the holiday season very stressful.  There are gifts to buy, wrap, ship, parties to plan and others to attend, cards to write and send, and in my world- finals, buyback and prep for Spring term.  It really is a recipe for the perfect storm of guilt or flares.

The problem, I think, is that one one hand in order to preserve my strength and not beg for a flare, I have to prioritize.  On the other side, I hate to disappoint anyone that I care about whether it's by not attending their function or by being late getting my cards/gifts out.  Work is ramping up and that has to be a priority because that's what pays the mortgage and supplies the health insurance.  That means that shopping, going to events and the rest all depend on how I feel after work.

The past week was the tip of the iceberg.  By the time Saturday came around I was sore and tired.  So, I went to work, did about 6 hours of counting and moving books (with my awesome Assistant Manager) and then came home and crashed.  I was sore enough that I didn't go back on Sunday as planned.  I also didn't go to a housewarming that I had very much been looking forward to or to a play that I wanted to see to support one of "my" haunt kids.  Yesterday I got up at the normal time but then allowed myself to chill out until almost 1pm.  Then I watched the football game, grocery shopped, roasted a chicken and veggies and planned and journaled my meals for today.  After dinner I helped Jim mount the TV in the living room on a bracket he had purchased and then relaxed while he stripped the chicken and dealt with leftovers and I watched my Sunday shows (Fairy tales and zombies!) while I worked on some wands to replace the ones I have given as gifts before trying to get some sleep.

The keyword in the previous sentence was *trying*,  My shoulder and elbow were hurting and I couldn't get comfortable.  I would find a position, doze until it started to throb, shift a little and repeat.  Not being able to fall off completely set my mind going on what all I have to do this week and that took care of that. I was in bed at 11:45 and out of bed  at 2:15. I've gotten a lot done so far.  My work email is caught up, my home email is almost caught up, laundry is dried, dishes are washed, lunch is packed and I am going to head into work early.

Coming up this week at work I have finals starting today which means buyback and rental returns and working open to close Monday through Thursday, a conference call I may opt out of on Tuesday, interviews for temps each day, a late lunch to take Mom and Dad to the airport (it's silly to park in Long Term Parking when I am less than 20 minutes away) and on Friday a retreat for the directors of the departments in my division of the school.  Saturday I will be open for four hours as a courtesy for those last minute rental returns, then I have a Christmas party in the evening.  Sunday may bring more work but if not- hopefully I can get my Christmas cards written and ready for mail and at least some of my gifts wrapped and prepped to ship.  It's tiring and stressing me out just thinking about it all.   Sadly- the first thing to drop off would be my party, the second shopping and Christmas cards.

The weekend following I have a trip to TN solo so I will be able to catch up a bit then but I would rather use it to just recharge.  We shall see.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Perfectionism, Long Journeys and Chronic Illness

     I admit it.  I am a bit of a perfectionist.  I come by it naturally and I don't fight it.  I say a bit because it applies to some areas ( work, for example) but not so much in some (ugh- housework) and I am okay with that.  Here's the problem.  This gratitude journey is a never-ending journey.  Much like any big change it takes time.  Much like quitting smoking or weight loss, living a grateful life has included slip-ups and backsliding.

     The current political climate in our country has created a LOT of backsliding for me.  I struggle so much with trying to find a bright side when we are bombarded from every angle with vitriol.  From the candidates to regular, everyday people that you thought you knew the name-calling, the disdain, the disrespect just grows every single day.  I am astonished at the number of people I have "hidden" on social media over their rants and hateful posts.  I haven't yet blocked all of them (though I have blocked quite a few) because I *hope* that after the election things will settle down a bit and they will go back to the normal people that I associated with before the primaries.  I have already cast my ballot because I will be traveling that day so I can divorce myself from the whole thing a bit but I will be so grateful when November comes so we can stop the attacks but I do fear that no matter the outcome of the election, the political coverage won't stop because the candidates will contest.    At this rate, I truly fear for my country.  I am afraid that we won't be able to come back from the hate and division.  I just hope that I am wrong.  

     I am also working with my PT to try to shed some of this very excessive weight.  Even if I work the program perfectly it too will be a very, very long journey.  In addition to the large amount of weight I have to get rid of, chronic illness doesn't make it any easier.  Working out feels near impossible.  No matter how motivated I am in my brain- my body says "exhaustion".  Between the normal job, haunting three nights a week and the puppies, finding time to even read a book where I am not ready to fall asleep is difficult.  I only have 7 "performances" left at the haunted house so that will end soon but then we ramp up at the store again.  It's a never-ending cycle.  That said- I love my little two-month acting job and can't-at the moment- imagine giving it up.  The creative outlet is refreshing, the improv is fun, and the cast and crew are amazingly talented. The customers can be taxing, but when they are really into it- it works like magic.

    Unfortunately, the failures, the slipping back into old habits, just kills the perfectionist in me.   I beat myself up on a regular basis about it.  Beating myself up just makes the attitude of gratitude harder to achieve.  So I struggle.  But I keep going- because when you live with pain, exhaustion, being ill all of the time- that's all you can do.  Keep going, keep trying, keep on doing your best- even if it's not perfection.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Oh Quit Your Griping Already! aka- Get Out of Your Own Head

     Have you ever had those moments when you get tired of thinking "My back hurts. My hips hurt. My hands hurt. My (insert your body part here) hurts.  I am tired. I am so tired, I am SO tired, I am SO TIRED!"  This has been what's been rolling around in my brain for the last few months.  The other thought that keeps bouncing around while I was working more hours than I should and lifting, pulling, standing, walking more than I should was "I just don't know how much longer I can keep going like this."  Now that I have reached the end of the tunnel, I can see clearly that I was so very deep inside my own head and it wasn't a good place to be.  It was bringing me down to where I was letting myself be consumed by my

      I try very hard not to be "that person."  You know the one.  That person in your life who is ALWAYS miserable.  The one who is never happy, never feels good, is always complaining about something.   I also know that when I get where I have been for the last month or so with several mini-flares and the usual back to school killer schedule that even if I try to keep my complaints out of the light, I slip more than I would like and the people around me have to hear me.  Who wants to spend time with that person?  I know I don't so I tend to avoid them but when it's yourself- there is no hiding from it.

     Here's the thing.  You know, I know, everyone knows that I am never going to feel "well" so complaining about it won't do any good.  I don't want pity.  I really kind of despise the thought. A little sympathy can go a long way but there's a very, very fine line because I don't want to be felt sorry for and I don't want to be held up as the example of how "it could always be worse".  Being that example is horrible!   Understanding would be nice, but unless you are living with it you can't really get it.  Even another RA/Fibro/DDD/RLD patient can't truly understand because each case is unique.  No two cases present the same way and no two people handle their pain, malaise and fatigue the same way.  We don't fight our illness the same way and we don't cope with the effects the same way so we can't truly understand what's inside one another's experience.  So all of that being said, complaining only puts the spotlight on my illnesses.  These are the things I think to kick my butt out of my funk in it's beginning stages but this time I was on the go that I didn't give myself that kick and it spiraled.

     What keeps me going through the downward vortex is this:  I know I am capable of more than I should be. My consistently sky high RF levels and ESR should have me fairly incapacitated but I keep going.  I know that the flares are fleeting.  I know that while today I may not feel like walking to the bathroom, tomorrow I may feel up to conquering the world.  The only thing holding me back is me.  It's not my body, it's my brain.  Even when my body is rebelling, if I don't let it get to me, if I don't verbalize my complaints- I can fight my way through.  I also know that when I let the complaints flow, the worse I feel.  It's as if acknowledging the pain and fatigue magnifies them.  It's not good and I need to put a stop to it RIGHT NOW.  So how to do that?

Well- this weekend I get to take time to relax. Before I go back to work on Monday I need to use the time to get out of my own head and back to a good place.  I got to spend yesterday with my middle sister Heather and her daughter Lauren which was a treat.  Tomorrow we get to go to see Lauren race for the first time since she began her MX career as a little, tiny, 4 year old.   Now she's all grown up and a professional racer and she's racing up by Indy for the first time so we get to see her in her element.  That will be a joy. We have followed her through photos, video and live stream for so long but live will be so special for us.  Today is all about giving myself a recuperation day.  Today I have absolutely nothing on my plate other than running a quick errand.  I already rode my exercise bike for a just over a mile this morning and enjoyed a pot of coffee.   I am going to go run my errand when I finish this and then come home and nap with the puppies.  Oh yes- the puppies.  Now that they are getting used to one another, they are pretty sweet most of the time.  And they are great napping companions.  After my nap I am going to curl up with some tea or Matcha and FINALLY read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  I might even throw in a facial and a tub.  Tomorrow Jim has to be at a meeting early so I will fold laundry in the guest room and then pack up to go see Lauren race.  One of "my kids" from work is going to puppy sit so we don't have to worry about crating the little one while we are gone for the day and we don't have to worry about coming home to a mess.  Then tomorrow night I will get my lunches and snacks planned for the week and clothes laid out so I can head to the PT on Monday morning bright and shiny then back to work.  I am hoping that by getting back on schedule, by getting back to my routine I can get out of my head and back to "normal".  Hopefully, by the time the weekend is over I will be mentally out of complaint mode and back to being more productive.  That's the plan at least.

In closing- I leave you with puppies!  Auggie, of course, is on the left and Fenway, the new addition, is on the right.

This is what I come home to at night.  They bring me joy even during their growing pains and  my craziness.  

Enjoy your weekend my friends~ I plan to do the same.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016


I. Am. Exhausted.  The husband brought home a new puppy on Monday.  I would like to phrase it less harshly but to say that his timing just plain sucks is appropriate. It's my Rush period so naturally I am working my face off.  Very long hours, running around like a crazy person and by the end of the day I just want to curl up and go to sleep.  My body is currently coming out of one flare and heading back into another so that's taking its toll as well. The end is in sight for work-craziness but the puppy (named Fenway) is a whole different story.

She's a 9 week old boxer/lab mix and cute as can be.  She's a snuggler and a kisser so you really can't get mad at her but she's still a baby.  That means that on top of everything at work and some family stuff that's going on I am working on housebreaking and crate-training.  We are up to almost 2 hours of sleep at a time at night which is somewhat great but since hubby works 3rd shift it falls to me to get up every couple of hours and take her outside then get her back to sleep.  I know he was thinking that if we waited she would be gone but there are moments I want to string him up by his toes and keep him there except to do puppy duty.

It's my own fault in a way.  I opened the door for this and he blasted through. Since we lost Harley last November I haven't been up to thinking about another dog.  On the other hand, Auggie misses Harley and is much less animated since she passed and Jim has been saying all along that he needed a friend.    A few weeks ago we went to a pet store to get some stuff and they were hosting an adoption event.  When we were there I agreed to apply to adopt a 6 month old boxer puppy.  I said that if it was meant to be we would get her- but we didn't because someone else got an application in before us and I thought nothing more of it until he showed me a picture of this one on Sunday.  I agreed the she was cute and then went on to a different subject.  Monday while he was out running errands he detoured to the shelter and adopted her, bringing her to the store to meet/surprise me.  As soon as he put her in my arms- it was all over.  She snuggled into my neck and I was done for.

So that's the adventure in my life now.  Wish me luck on potty-training!  It's an arduous journey!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Happy Sunday Random Roundup Friends!

I don't know about where you live but it's HOT here in Kentuckiana.  We've had days upon days of 90's and humidity with no end in sight.  For the most part- I just love it.  The only disadvantages are that my extremities swell and my hair just doesn't behave due to the humidity.  On the other hand, the heat is marvelous for my joints.  I don't know for sure if it's the Actmra or the heat but my stiffness in the morning is down to about an hour before I am "normal".  In winter it can be up to 3 hours.

 Outside does make a difference, even though we keep it at a steady 72 inside year round.  When it's hot out I love to spend time out in the sun.  If you are my age, I am sure you remember spending time in the summer, laying out on a towel in the yard with baby oil slathered all over you and Sun-In in your hair.  We all wanted our hair light and our skin dark.  It makes me smile just to think about it.  Now I get as much sun as I can in May, June, July and August.  September I start letting the tan fade in preparation for haunt season.  After all- the darker I am, the more makeup I need to look "dead".

Speaking of haunt season, I am ready early this year.  My costumes have been cleaned, my basket full of makeup and accessories has been restocked and packed and I am already working on my intro for the season.  I have also been working with some of the other actors on things that worked and didn't from last season that we can share with new cast members this coming season.  Last season was drama-free for the most part and we had really good kids.  I hope beyond all hope that this season will be the same or better.  One weight is off my shoulders.  There was a review group that has come through every season and many of us actors were really concerned with how we would rank.  Well, over the off-season their "head guys" showed their colors after the Orlando tragedy by posting some horribly homophobic statements and then getting really nasty when called on it.  I don't tolerate that in my life and I don't respect anyone who can't respect others so, though I doubt they will be allowed in ANY of the haunts in our area this season, if they do make it in I really don't care what they think of our haunt or my performance.

On a happier note, we went out running yesterday and saw a puppy that was just adorable.  She's a boxer/bulldog mix. We have been thinking long and hard of getting Auggie a companion.  His personality has become very toned down since we lost Harley last November and it's been long enough that I am ready to bring another dog into our world.  Jim was all for it immediately but I needed time to mourn that sweet little girl first.  Of course I have my fears.  Can we really get lucky enough to get another dog as sweet as those two?  What happens if my health goes downhill?  Fortunately we have a decent sized yard for them to run in and Jim swears he can handle two of them so there's that.  OTOH- Mom and Dad don't think we need another dog.  I get it because Auggie travels with us and they have already made his reservation (just his, not any of the other Grand-dogs) for our next family reunion but we know that if we do get another dog we will either have to board both or hire someone to stay at the house with them because, like with Harley and Auggie, we wouldn't split them up.  And NEED is a strong word.  But I fully believe in rescuing dogs.  Given the time, ability and unlimited funds I would rescue as many as possible. I can see myself as the "Crazy Dog Lady" in another life.  Given my physical limitations *When* we win the lottery we will donate to as many rescues as we can.  The mission is so important.   Dogs really are better than people.  They love unconditionally and if you treat them well they are loyal to the end of the earth.  Their hearts are pure.  I truly believe that there are very few bad dogs- but many more bad owners.  I have to commend people who can foster- I couldn't because I would want to keep them all.  I know my limitations and letting them go, even to a great home, is one of mine.  It would break my heart and I just couldn't do it.

Now to bring things down a bit.  I am SO over all of the political posts and divisive social commentary on social media.  I will say over and over until I die that I don't care WHO you vote for as long as you get out there and vote.  That said,  these elections have become so contentious that it's making me physically ill.  If I could get a message to everyone who comments on every thread or news article or meme or posts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, it would be this:  if  you cannot get your message across without calling names, you message is not that important.  As soon as I see rudeness or name calling, I shut down.  I don't care if you are talking to one another or talking about the candidate or about the parties or about ideologies, if you can't be respectful, if you can't make your point without being hateful, your point is moot.  I don't even discuss who I am voting for.  It's between me and the polls.  That said, I look at every issue.  I also look at how the campaign is run, who they surround themselves with and where they stand on healthcare, government oversight, military matters, and jobs leaving the country.  I worry about racial tension, I worry about the separation of church and state, and I worry about foreign relations.  The great thing about being a registered Independent is that there is no "straight party" voting and that I can choose who I think will be best for our country, our state, our city without feeling I need to stay within party lines.  I hope, hope, hope that when you look at the candidates, you can feel free to make your decision with as much openness in your heart and mind as well.  Additionally I have watched the different "Lives Matter" (Black, Blue, All) movements with a heavy heart.  I truly believe that they are doing nothing to advance their causes but just causing further divide.  I understand the concept and why people feel their need.  What I don't understand is why, in 2016, ANYONE is still looking at people as a skin color, a religion, a job, a sexual orientation or a gender identity.  We are more than each of those things.  We are people.  We have hearts and souls.

 What has made me truly sad is that I have found out a lot that is not pretty about people that I thought I knew.  I am thankful that, there's an UNFOLLOW button on Faceobook, but I am sad that I need to use it.  I have unfollowed a lot of people because though I care about them, I just don't want the ugliness cluttering my news feed.  I won't cut them out of my life because they do mean something to me and I believe that deep inside there is more to them than that, but I don't want to see that part of them.   Please know, if you are posting hateful or rude thing, you are still there, I just don't see you on my regular news feed any longer.

Part of trying to live from a place of gratitude is to cut the negativity out of your life.  For me, that means losing the toxicity of this political season.  It means ignoring the rhetoric of the movements and accepting people for their merits.  I have gotten very far off track in my search for gratitude and I think it's because the negativity from many directions is all consuming.   I think it's time for a self-imposed social media and news drought in my life.  It's time to take a break for the good of my own soul.  I will keep my messenger up to keep up with my family and I can be reached there or here but I need a break from the rest for a while.  I hope you have a beautiful Sunday, free of strife and negativity.  I am thankful that you are reading my musings and for all of your support.

Monday, July 18, 2016

I Am NOT My Illnesses

There's an ad out right now, I think for a Psoriasis drug, that says "See ME".  I see many people who allow themselves to be defined by one aspect of their lives be it illness or one thing (marriage, parenthood, work?) that they don't see beyond.  I cannot, WILL not, allow that to happen to me.

I am a wife.
I am a mother.
I am a daughter.
I am a sister.
I am a friend.
I am a writer.
I am an employer.
I am an employee.
I am right-handed.
I am brown-eyed.
I am of undefined hair color.
I am a tom-boy.
I am a diva.
I am an actress.
I am a reader.
I am Spiritual.
I am loyal.
I am hardworking.
I am dependable.
I am adventurous.
I am open minded.
I am complicated.
I am an observer.
I am easily irritated by bad grammar, bad spelling, bad driving.
I am a political Independent.
I am a Moderate.
I am quick-tempered about the little things but get over it equally quickly.
I am slow to really hurt/anger but when you push me too far, you are out of my life forever.
I am a geek.
I am a Pop-Culture addict.
I am not happy with my weight.
I am happy with who I am.

I believe that people are who they show you they are rather than who they say they are.
I believe that animals are better "people" than people at times.
I believe that common sense and common decency have become not-so-common.
I believe that being respectful does not hurt.
I believe that being kind also does not hurt.
I believe that not my job to "convert" you, nor your job to "convert" me.
I believe that getting to know one another as people is the way to finding peace.
I believe that hate is an all-consuming a waste of energy.

I believe that the words "Politically Correct" should be stricken from the lexicon.  Respect for our differences is not a bad thing.

I believe that people say things behind a keyboard that they wouldn't dare say face-to-face, and that often shows true colors.

I believe that if you are living your life your way and not hurting anyone, you should just live your life without repercussions.  Best put:  "Do what you will, so long as you harm none."

I believe that if it's not yours, don't take it; if you didn't earn it, don't take it; if it doesn't belong to you, don't break it.  If you do, you are a criminal and should be punished.

I believe that guns are for hunting for food, not people.  If you kill it, you eat it.  If you hunt for sport or if you kill another person, you have earned swift punishment.

I believe that personal responsibility and accountability are of the utmost importance for ALL.

I believe that our country has, in my lifetime, lost its way and I fear that, in my lifetime, it won't find it again.

I believe that we citizens at heart are the way to heal, we just have to take action to make it happen.

I don't see skin color.
I don't see religion.
I don't see sexuality.
I don't see gender identity.
I don't see disabilities.

I do see how you treat people.
I do see how you speak to people.
I do see how you conduct yourself when you think no one is looking.

This is a lot about me- but did you notice that none of it is even remotely about the illnesses I live with?  I am NOT Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I am NOT Fibromyalgia, I am NOT DDD, I am not RLD.  They may shape what I can do from day to day but they are not my life.  There's so much more to me that has nothing to do with any of those illnesses.  Pain, exhaustion and the associated symptoms may slow me down but they are not who I am.  It's my hope that you too make a list and see yourself, warts and all, beyond what plagues you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Time For Another Business Trip

   I am off to Cleveland again this morning.  Though I am dreading the 6 hour drive I am very much looking forward to spending time with "my girls".  We are very fortunate that we have some good people in our group and specifically, that the girls at IU East and IU Northwest and I (IU Southeast) really like one another and enjoy spending our limited time together.  I can't imagine how tough it would be if we didn't get along.  We all have to drive in a day early due to the length of the drive.   I will leave here in about an hour, get there around 3 (which is check-in time) and have time to take a nap before the girls get in around 6.   Two of us room together and  so I will know when they get in and we will meet up, go to dinner and catch up before we start the meeting in the morning with the rest of the region.  We will do meetings all day and evening tomorrow and all day Thursday and then make the long drive home.  I am grateful that I get to see the girls and we do this together since we are too far apart to spend regular time together.

By the time I get home my back (and possibly hips) will HATE me- but I will have the weekend to lay on the couch and recover.  My DDD and RA aren't crazy about turn-around trips but when I go to Tennessee I can rest in-between,  When we have our meetings it's essentially "Forced Family Fun" from 7am to 10 or 11pm every day.  We are in chairs all day, then spend dinner and the evening together.  This time it's a team-building exercise.   Fortunately, when  I make it home I will have a puppy waiting for me who will snuggle up and love on me as long as I need.  Unfortunately, I won't see the husband until Friday because he will be at work by the time I get home.  It's a trade off I will take because he is really liking working for Lowes.  I am grateful for King Pup.  He makes me look forward to coming home and makes my recovery a bit more palpable.
In terms of my work- my second Summer session started yesterday.  That means that in a week or so we will rope off that section and offer counter service only while we prepare for Fall.  This summer is FLYING by in terms of prep-time,  I need to look at my calendar and figure out when I will devote a weekend to walking, shifting and re-setting my shelves.  I have done very well (if I do say so myself) in letting go of much of my textbook duties and giving them to my Assistant, even though they are my wheel-house, my comfort zone, my "baby" so to speak.  As it's my first big season without having control- I have to do a walk-through and adjustment.  I can't just assume all is well because I am the one who will have to be the one who answers for any issues in the end.  Such is the fun of being "the boss."  I am grateful that I am free to rearrange my schedule so that I can do big tasks like this when we are closed and at my own pace.

Well, I must finish subtly packing.  Auggie loses it when he realizes I am leaving and so I have to pack bit-by bit.  The suitcase is closed, I am just finishing my backpack.  I just have to let my work iPad charge as much as I can before heading out.  Then, I will convince the dog he needs to go outside (Bunny chasing perhaps?) and take the luggage out the front door. At the moment he is snoozing at my feet under my desk, so this may be tough.

Have a lovely, lovely week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Peppermint Tea, Ginger and Flexibility

     As good as I thought Monday started out, it quickly devolved.  Shortly after I hit "Publish" on my post, I started to feel ill.  When I say ill, I mean ILL.  Over the last two days I have dealt with the effects of what we think was less than stellar seafood on Sunday night.  It was ugly.  We have narrowed it down to that because hubby was affected too- but he only ate a little of it and he was less affected.

    Monday at work I was....out of the office (I am sure you get my meaning) as much as I was in.  I think most of the 8800 steps on my Fitbit were earned running back and forth to the ladies room.  This continued all night to the point that I barely slept.  Yesterday morning I sent a text to my Assistant Manager asking her to cover my close as the issue was ongoing.  She graciously said yes and I crawled into my recliner and didn't move unless necessary for the day.

    Because of all of the meds I am on I prefer not to treat with medication when possible.  With previous damage to my liver (thanks MTX!) I am so afraid to take anything that affects that area. Thankfully I had a box of Twining's Peppermint Tea K-cups for my Keurig on hand.  Peppermint is a great soother for your stomach and it helped a lot.  I also keep Gin-Gins on hand all of the time because I just love them but Ginger also helps settle your stomach.  So these two became my saviors. I discovered the hard way that caffeine was a huge trigger.  I thought I was getting low on the Peppermint tea so I made a cup of green tea (less caffeine than coffee but still has it in it) and added mint from my garden and nearly undid the progress.   But, I found another box (YAY) that I had stashed away and in the meantime I switch to water in an infuser filled with fresh mint.  

     This morning I am feeling human again but I am taking all of those things with me *just in case* eating solid food sets me off again and I am stopping for flowers for my Assistant Manager who covered me yesterday and my Full-time bookseller.  They are both so good about covering the store when I am not doing well- be it illness or a flare- and I just want to show them that I appreciate it.  It's a small token but it's something I can do.  It's a total blessing that I have people at work who are flexible about changing their hours so that I can tend to my "stuff" and not worry about my job.  I am also grateful that I have sick time every year and that I have not had to max it out in any year as of yet.  I am often told "USE IT! You only get to carry over so much!" but I am always so afraid that the big flare will come and I will need it that I only use it sparingly.  I would rather lose the hours that I can't carry over than need it.

I hope you have a LOVELY Wednesday.  Give thanks today for any small thing that you can find- it makes even a rough situation a little better! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Monday Friends!

It's a beautiful morning in my little world.  At daybreak it looked like it was going to storm but after I took Auggie for quick walk the skies started to part and the sun is now peeking through.  The excitement is that even though it's fairly humid this morning the extra Naproxyn I have been taking is kicking in and I can fit most of my rings and my regular shoes on!!!  I have to laugh that I got so excited about it.  I can't imagine my sisters getting so excited about such a little thing.  I think we just take such small things for granted until they are gone.

Speaking of getting excited, Auggie was super excited to go for a walk this morning.  I have to say, since we moved in last October I had gotten away from walking them/him.  We wanted a fenced yard so they could go out and run and play whenever they wanted and we got it.  For a few weeks after we lost Miss Harley in November, Auggie and I would take long walks just so we could "talk".  I would talk to him about how she was feeling better now that she was gone and how he would be okay.  I *think* it helped both of us with the grief.  Eventually I went into flare and that was the end of that. This weekend I realized that there's no reason not to take him at least for a quick walk in the morning and perhaps in the evenings.  He loves it and it would get me moving.  So I got up a half hour early and had some coffee then took him for a quick walk.  As soon as I picked up the leash he nearly lost it.  It was all I could do to keep him quiet and not wake up the husband.  He waited for me to put his harness on and then was dancing around like it was his job.  He was a little wild at first- which just shows I need to do it more often because he's forgotten his leash manners- but once he settled down we had a nice little walk.  We only went a few blocks but we will work back up to our milers.

That's all I have for you today.  I hope your Monday is a beautiful start to a good week.  

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Not Letting The Swelling Win.

     If you are anything like me, this time of year is a Catch-22.  I love the heat.  Let me say it again, I LOVE the heat- most of the time.  I love when it's hot out during the day.  I love to spend time out in the sun.  I am happy to eat out on my patio, to sit outside and read in shorts and a tank top, to feel the sun warming my joints.  The rub is that I can't sleep in it so even if we didn't have the pup to keep the house cool for, we would have to keep it cool at night for me and during the day for my opposite-shift-working husband.  Unfortunately, in Kentuckiana, along with the heat comes humidity that can be oppressive.  Now- most of me doesn't even mind the humidity, but my joints do.

     When the humidity rises it's an invitation for my entire body to swell.  It's like my body wants to draw that moisture in and keep it all for itself.  I mentioned when I took my day off that my shoe size ranges from a 6-9 (or more) due to swelling but my hands and wrists swell like balloons too.  So I end up with Flintstone feet and fingers like sausages.  It's not cute at all.  I mentioned that the feet burn when I use them.  The hands don't hurt much- they are just harder to use due to the swelling so typing is harder, gripping is harder- you get the idea.

     Now, I am a "ring girl".  I love, love, love rings.  As a rule I wear 8-10 rings at all times.  I wear my wedding ring and anniversary band on my left ring finger, a knuckle ring on that middle finger, thumb rings on both sides, and three rings that are important to me on my right ring finger.  When my hands swell- they hurt, a lot.  So- I have been removing them when they start to cut in so much that I need soap to get them off but that leaves me feeling...naked.  While I have accumulated most of the rings over the years, I have been wearing a wedding band for 30 years and though I have had to go up a size from the original- not having it on feels like I am missing a part of myself.

     Recently I gave myself permission to buy myself a "spare".  Just like I have shoes that are much larger than normal, I bought an inexpensive silver and glass wedding set to wear when I can't wear my real set.  It's pretty-ish ( I prefer 10k gold) and I know it's not the same but it's the symbol and I am not missing my rings as much.  When I bought my bigger shoes it was a decisive action because I was tired of only being able to fit into flip-flops with swollen feet.  These rings are just another work around so that I don't dwell when I swell.  Kind of a way to move past this side effect and keep going if you know what I mean.   I may not be able to beat the swelling, but I  don't have to let it win either.

    This is my question for you- what do you do to accommodate so you can keep feeling "normal" while your body is in a mini rebellion? Whether you swell like I do or if there is another reoccurring thing that happens due to your illnesses, what small things do you do to rise above it and keep living your life?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

When Did my Life Become a Scout Song?

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

And eyes, and ears, and mouth,
And nose.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

Do you remember this song?  If you aren't sure- they sing it at the link.  It brings back memories from long, long ago but, ironically, it's apt today as well.  The way our pain travels when we are living with RA and Fibro, we can sing that song every day and apply it to a hurting body part.

I took yesterday off as a sick day.  My shoulder has been hurting for months now and my feet were so swollen on Tuesday morning that I couldn't get shoes all the way on. I ended up going to work with them stuffed in my shoes.   When they are swollen it burns to walk on them and stuffing them into shoes made it burn constantly.  Here's the thing though.  When all is normal- a size 6-6.5 shoe has more than enough room in it to accommodate a long day on my feet.  Lately the top of my foot has been swelling so much that when they are really bad I have to put on a 9 to be able to get them on.  Tuesday, even they were tight.  I just can't go bigger because I already feel like I am  a little kid wearing my parent's shoes when I have the 9s on.  Any bigger and I can pretty much guarantee I will trip.  So, because we are at a good place at work, I took the day to keep the feet up and try to get rid of the swelling a bit.  The plan was to stay home, in my jammies, in my recliner all day.  For the most part I stuck to plan.  I did have to get up and get dressed though because the collision center called and Wally ( my car) was fixed and ready to pick up.  Back in April I was side-swiped by an 18-wheeler and my insurance (Thanks USAA!) has been chasing the other driver's insurance for quite a while.  They finally just waived my deductible so I could get him fixed and he looks awesome.  More importantly, I have a passenger side mirror back.  I never realized how much I use it until it was gone. So I had to throw on clothes and a baseball cap, run the rental car back to Enterprise and then have them drive me to the collision center.  All told it took *maybe* a half hour once I was dressed and out the door.  I came home, made dinner and then soaked in the tub before bed.  Today, my feet are some better,  I don't have to put on the biggest shoes.  I am not quite back to my normal shoes but I will take it.

So today I am giving thanks that I could take a day off to rest, that I have my car back and that I have a job to go back to this morning.  I am also thankful that my little tomato, strawberry and mint plants are growing beautifully despite my black thumb.  Soon I will have a bounty from my own yard.  That just makes me smile.  Hope you have a lovely day friends!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Finding Motivation

One of the issues I have been having is weight gain.  I come home at night SO tired that moving is the last thing that I want to do and in the morning it takes hours for the stiffness to subside enough to even go to work.  It weighs on me (see what I did there?) both physically and mentally.  I have struggled with my weight and  my perception of my weight for as long as I can remember.

This is me circa 1983.

This is the first time I remember struggling with my weight.  I had curves.  My beautiful friends- not so much.  If I was an hourglass, they were lolly-pops.  I had a belly, they did not.  I had pronounced hips, they did not.   I remember thinking "Wow, I am SO fat" more than once.  Okay, more like every day.   It's when I started dieting for the first time.

  Looking at this next picture, I think Josh was about 10 so this is me around 1997. While I was STILL dieting off and on, I was fairly satisfied with where I was in my journey.

This next picture is when either my youngest sister graduated from college or my Dad retired.  It is my favorite picture of me. I am truly smiling in this picture.  I am thrilled to be with my family and I look confident because I felt good about myself.  I actually liked the way I looked for a change.

Finally, this is me now.       Now, full-length mirrors are my nemesis.  I am at the highest weight I have ever been.  I know where my downfalls are.  I eat well- most of the day- then evening hits and I graze out of boredom.  Where I used to work two jobs on my feet and run all day long, I am mostly desk-bound these days because of my health.  I used to walk the dogs every night.  Now I come home exhausted  and with swollen feet and Auggie gets let out into the fenced yard to do his running.  So my movement has gone from overdrive to slowing to a crawl.  I am peri-menopausal so my metabolism is slowing down.  I KNOW all of this.

I know that it's contributing to my pain and it must go but what I also know is that when I think about having to shed up to 100 lbs, it's overwhelming and feels like an impossible dream.

A few weeks ago I was pointed in the direction of a video that I will share here.  Warning- there is some "language" in here that, while I am not offended, may offend some if you don't like swear words.

This is Mike Vacanti.  Mike is a personal trainer.  First glance judgement was "Oh please.  This kid is 25-30 (I nailed it- he was 28 in this video) without an ounce of fat.  He won't get what I am going through".  I was wrong.  I am sorry Mike!  The video targets us in the older generation.  Though he's a trainer and when he trains he goes full bore- he says that it's okay to start small.  The important thing is that you start and stick with it.  That was a light-bulb moment for me.  It's OKAY to start small.  It does make a difference!  Wait- what?  Using something I have around the house instead of going to the gym counts? Doing 10 reps instead of multiple sets counts?  Walking around my cul-de-sac and then collapsing makes a difference?  A trainer not telling me to get on my stationary bike till I am ready to fall over?  Revolutionary.

Mike trains clients online.  While I am not at a place now where I can hire him,  if I could I would in a heartbeat because I think he would understand my physical challenges and work with them.  Mike's website is full of articles and videos.  He's a huge proponent of counting macro-nutrients.  I have downloaded his app and am learning about what they are and how to count them.  I love that he's so blunt.  I love that he's realistic.  I love that he's not focused on the usual gym-rats, instead he spreads his message to everyone.  It lit a spark in me that will hopefully turn into a flame.  If you are interested in more of his message, you can find him here and on Facebook and Snapchat.  

 I am heading dead-heading into 50.  I will be 49 in a few weeks.  My goal is to get moving and shed ( don't say "lose" because that implies you can find it again!) at least half of my excess weight before my 50th birthday.  That's only roughly a pound a week.  If I start small-but am consistent, that should be manageable.  Maybe, just maybe,  I can get back to the girl in the 3rd picture- just with more wrinkles.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Brain Fog

     If you are at all like me the brain fog that comes along with chronic illness can be INCREDIBLY frustrating.  In my case, when I am tired (which is most of the time) or stressed (also a lot) I lose my words.  As someone who has always been very well read, has a fairly extensive vocabulary and has always been very verbal, to struggle for the words that I need just makes me crazy.  It starts with being tired, then when it happens it stresses me out which compounds it and makes it harder to come up with what I am trying to say.

When I am fighting to remember that word-and it could be something as simple as the word "Red", or if I am at work a word that I use all of the time like "Schedule"- it takes me through a range of emotion.  First I am frustrated because I can almost SEE the word in my head. I can feel it sitting on my tongue but the brain is so foggy it just won't connect.  Then I am embarrassed because I can see the frustration in the face of the person to whom I am talking to wait for me to have the word click and it makes me feel stupid and no one likes to feel stupid in front of their loved ones or colleagues.  That leads to anger with myself and with whichever parts of my illness, be it the Fibromyalgia (more on Fibro Fog here) or the myriad of medications that I have to take every morning to function or that the pain and finding a way to compartmentalize it takes so much out of me.  It's not something I can control or even do anything to make it better.  Finally it's almost funny.  Not "funny" funny but more of a gallows humor funny.  I have to, have to, have to laugh about it because it's a coping mechanism.

I have discovered that if I can ask for a minute, then take a deep breath (or several) the words will eventually come to me.  Most people that are in constant contact with me know by now that this is an issue and for the most part they understand what's going on when it happens but it doesn't make it easier because while they realize why it's happening they don't get the struggle that's going on in my head.   That's hard for me.

I appreciate, on so many levels, that they try to understand. I appreciate their patience with me more than I can ever express.  I just don't have the patience with myself.  In researching this to see if there's a way to work around this I found an interesting article on Beliefnet sitting in my email.  Divine intervention?  Perhaps.  While I don't agree with all of it, there are some helpful hints for dealing with Brain Fog in there.  I am going to put it into practice slowly but surely and see how it goes.  I hope it helps you too!  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Breakthrough of Sorts

Hello Friends,

It's been a while again.  I hope this finds you well.  I have been staring at the "button" that I click to get to my blog for so many months now that it's become unacceptable. I look at it every morning and evening and even hover over it but then I think "I don't have much to say today" and move on to something else.   Part of it is that there's nothing exciting going on (which is good-I think) and part is that I don't want to start writing and have it turn into a gripe session.  I mean, I get tired of thinking about the pain, the swelling, the lack of mobility.  And if I get tired of just thinking about it, I certainly don't want to drag everyone else down with a gripe fest-especially since that flies in the face of why I started this blog.

It has been suggested to me more than once that it is possible that I may be going through a mild case of depression.  Of course, I always said "No WAY!".  I mean; I am functioning, I am "okay" most of the time and I recognize and am grateful for all of the blessings in my life.  I didn't see any way in wich i I am emotionally debilitated.   Then a friend pointed me to this article from Prevention magazine that contains this:

"Depression doesn’t always look like debilitating sadness," says Richard Kravitz, MD, MSPH, a professor of internal medicine at University of California, Davis, and an expert in identifying depression in primary-care settings. "Patients are reluctant to consider depression as a cause of their symptoms—in part because they may equate it with weakness, but also in part because they simply don’t associate those symptoms with depression." 

So I reluctantly read the article and discovered that I identify with 5-6 of the 9 symptoms.  It was a shocker! I honestly thought I was just caught up in the day to day but upon reflection, a lot of my day to day is on autopilot.  I give sufficient attention to do what I have to do and to ensure that it's done correctly but I am not my chipper, enthusiastic, overly motivated, perfectionist self and haven't been for a long while.  It kind of clicked that feeling "okay" is not the best I can hope for.  Not for nothing but I attribute it to-once again- my illnesses.

 I don't think I would have been as receptive of this had my gorgeous sister not gotten married last month.  We all flew out for the wedding and it was just beautiful.  Her new husband is an awesome guy and I can't imagine a better match for her.  The trip was smooth and hubby and I got to spend time with all of my sisters, the new hubby, Mom and Dad and our awesome niece and nephew.  It was very special.   Though it was a (very) short trip, it was filled with joy.  By now you may be thinking "okay- you went, you had a great time, where's the problem in that?"  While we were there, and on the way home, I found myself feeling a little...disconnected?  I got up early most mornings (as per usual) and walked to the 7-11 for coffee and then chilled out by myself enjoying the first cup till my youngest sister got moving and we could get together.  It was during one of those quiet moments that it hit me that I was feeling a step away from everything.  Though the family may not have noticed because there was SO much going on, I was just quieter than I normally would have been.   I realized during that morning downtime it was because I felt like I didn't have much to say.  I almost felt like, well, the only way I can explain it is as if I was there but I was watching things through a window.  And in looking through that window, I didn't even recognize myself, if that makes sense.  As these thoughts rolled around in my head, for the first time I could FEEL myself retreat.  I was pulling inward and I recognized that I do that a LOT lately. It's not that I wasn't enjoying myself.  I absolutely was. I was just a step back from the goings on.   It was disconcerting to say the least and from then on I made an effort to pull myself out of it.

It was shortly after I got back that depression was mentioned to me again (apparently I was doing the quiet thing) and the article pointed my way.  So- I don't know what I will do with this.  Those that know me *might* say that me being quiet and pulling back is a good thing. LOL.  OTOH, I will probably talk to my doctor about it at my appointment next month.  I don't want more medication but I do want to know what I can do to get back to feeling like myself.

For now, that's all I know! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Grumbling, Grumbling

It's almost 9am and I have already done enough grumbling this morning for a week.  First I was grumbling because Auggie woke me up FAR too early (considering that we were up late watching the tube last night) and then wanted in and out, in and out.  Some would say just leave him out- but I don't want him barking and waking the neighbors at 4-5-6-7 am on a Sunday. And he knows it- so as soon as he gets ready to come in he gives a single bark.

Then it was sorting my pills for the week.  It's not a huge deal- it's just tedious and my pill week starts on Sunday so before I can take them I have to sort them- plus it's shot week (I am on Actmera every other week) so that means paying that bill and I am almost out of Prilosec and have to pick that up along with another RX today.  I don't know about you, but I am rather over buying meds and having so many that they have to be sorted and life revolving around taking them.  RA. Fibro, DDD, RLD- somehow I think that with that laundry list, the med regimen won't be lessened very soon.

Then it was paying the bills.  You know, I know- they are a fact of life.  Today was the mortgage, car insurance, cable, cell bill, electric, gas, water, trash/sewer, etc.  It's almost soul crushing.  You work hard all month long and with one 20 minute session at the PC and with the checkbook- it's gone.

Lack of sleep, tedious and dreaded tasks to start the morning and it all culminated in:


Then- I got over myself.  I literally stopped dead in the kitchen from pulling my shot out of the fridge and said out loud "Oh ENOUGH already!"  I just don't want to let this go on and grow and ruin my Sunday.

So I came back into my office and made a plan.  I am going to finish my pot of coffee.  I am going to make my meal plan for the week.  I am going to take my shower.  I am going to go to the gym and hit the treadmill.  I am going to go get my manicure done and then go to the grocery.  Then I am going to come home, get my clothes ready for the week, fold some laundry  and start gathering the stuff that I need to pack for my trip to my annual meeting a week from Tuesday.  Then practice walking in my heels again before I get back in my jammies and snuggle in for my evening of Fairy Tales (Once Upon A Time) and Zombies (The Walking Dead/Talking Dead) and try to relax before another busy week.

I have to take this opportunity of today to take the things I was grouchy about this morning and turn them to gratitude.

  I am SO thankful that I have that silly dog.  He gives me so much joy and makes me laugh so often and knows when I am not doing well and will stay by my side endlessly until I feel better that I have to "excuse" the pain-in-the-butt moments.  I also have to be thankful that I am able to get up and down and up and down to let him in an out when he's wanting to run.

I have to remind myself that I am truly grateful that we have the medications that keep me able to be productive.  As much as I hate taking my pills and shots and stuff- I know, because I wait in pain for them to kick in every single morning, that without them my quality of life would be incredibly diminished.  I have to, have to, have to take them and be thankful that not only do I have them, but I can afford them.  Without them, I would not be able to work.  Without them, there would be more days than there are that I am not able to leave my bed, much less my house.  Without them, there would be no way that I would be heading to the gym in a bit to walk on the treadmill.

Finally I have to be grateful that I CAN work and pay those bills.  As often as I say "I just want to win the lottery and retire", until that happens, those bills that I was grumbling about paying this morning will come every month.  It's just a part of life.  I am grateful to have that mortgage, and that my parents helped to make that happen. I am grateful for the cars when for so many years we didn't have one and that we can afford the insurance that goes along with it.  I am grateful for the lights, the heat, the cable that keeps me entertained and more importantly connected to my family and friends across the country.  For the cell phones that are attached to our hands 24/7 and all of the other things I was paying the bills out for this morning as well as the silly things we don't NEED but spend our money on each week.

So that's that.  Change the perspective, change the direction of the day- and tomorrow wake up on the RIGHT side of the day.  :-)  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pajama Day or Spa Day? That is the question.

     Hey gang!  I have been so, so, SO busy for so long that taking today off to relax feels like playing hooky.  I am not- I promise.  I am planning on a long day Friday as I travel to another store to observe their inventory and then I am opening the store on Saturday for an Open House for prospective students so even though I took off today, I am still at about......47 hours this week.  The problem is that for the last three months I have been working so much that taking a day in the middle of the week is almost illicit.  There's been so much going on (and will continue to be until May 15th) that it's been overwhelming.  Even when I wasn't working my brain has been going in the background working on that next thing.  I almost feel like I haven't been able to breath- and today is that first full-lung breath.

     So what to do today?  First instinct is to stay in my jammies all day and binge on the DVR and just vegetate but I do have one or two errands to do that would negate that a bit.  Not rough errands- I need to drop Jim's suit off at the dry cleaner so it's ready for my sister's wedding and *maybe* run to Meijer to pick up some fruits and veggies.  Because we haven't had many meals together lately I offered to cook for Jim tonight.  He was in the mood for burgers.  Let's be honest- I make decent burgers but I cook other things much better, so I offered to run to Five Guys if I am out since that's his favorite.  Then he can have a burger, a bacon dog and REALLY good fresh fries ready when he walks in the door at 3:45 and will have time to rest before heading to Lowes for his evening shift without me banging around cleaning up the dishes and such.

     The second inclination is to do a home-spa "day".  I have a lot of things like mud masks and nail polish, bubble bath,  facial scrubs and such.  I can pick up a few more things at Meijer and spend the evening taking care of my outside.  I have music, recorded meditations, my favorite Blueberry Matcha, yoga OnDemand, candles and, of course, a puppy to snuggle to nourish my insides.  A few hours of peace sounds really, really good.

  Either way, I can take off my comfy pajamas, toss them in the laundry before I head out, transfer it when I get back and when I am done with my ministrations or just dinner, put on warm pajamas- there's nothing better than warm, just-out-of-the-dryer jammies.  It's like slipping on a hug and who can't use a hug?

Well- I think I am going to finish the show I am watching and then change.  Timing will be everything in making sure I get home in time for dinner with the hubby without being too early or too late.  I am so ready to win the Powerball and retire so I can enjoy days like this at my leisure!

Have a lovely, lovely day!  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

My Thunder Buddy and the Event....

Thunder Buddy (for LIFE) had a rough night tonight- and naturally shared with us. We didn't go to bed until late, just after midnight the three of us crawled into bed. Around 12:30 Auggie jumped off the bed for some water and curled up on his own bed. I really don't know what time the storm started probably because we sleep very well during storms but Auggie freaked out and managed to squeeze himself in between the wall and bed and get under the bed. Now- my bed has drawers under it so there's not room to just slide under there.  Every clap of thunder, every flash of lightening brought a bark or two. So up I got with him around 2:30 and tried to get him to come out to the living room with me so he didn't wake Jim as well but he couldn't figure out how  to get back out since technically- there's really not room. It wasn't until about 40 minutes later that Jim woke up enough to help me move the bed to get him out. He was so scared that he actually went out INTO the storm to relieve himself. Shortly thereafter- the boys both went back to sleep- Jim back to bed and Auggie curled up in the chair in my office and I have been cleaning out the DVR and sucking down copious amounts of coffee for the last 3 hours.  Gotta love being a light sleeper who can't get back to bed after being woken.  It worked well when Josh was a baby and needed to be cared for in the middle of the night.  Now that I am getting older- not so much.  

I hope you all got some sleep- and have a lovely Sunday

Monday, February 8, 2016

How Do You Want To Be Remembered?

     This weekend I was reading snippets of Forever, Erma.  Erma Bombeck was a beloved humorist who passed away too soon.  I loved, loved the wit she brought to marriage, parenting, and life in general.  The book is a collection of 200 of her columns.  At the end of this book, the final chapter, is a multitude of tributes from friends, family, fans, colleagues and people whose lives she touched.  It's a lovely, lovely end to the book.  It got me thinking though.  How do I want to be remembered when I pass?

First-let it be known far and wide- I do not want a traditional funeral.  Don't mourn my passing- celebrate my life.  Don't put me on display- take my ashes and scatter them on Granny's (now Kevin's) back 40.  If you want to memorialize me- plant a tree, or two, and place a bench in what will be underneath it/them and then use it as a place to go when you want peace and quiet.  Now that we have the particulars out of the way.....

Overall, I hope that I am remembered as kind, as strong, as stubborn (because we HAVE to be honest) as honest, as loyal and as hardworking.

 I hope my family (blood and chosen) remembers me as loving and as the one who was always there for them when they needed me.

To take it a branch out  further- here's what I hope the many, many kids (most of whom are now grown up) that have worked with me and become part of my extended family remember me simply as the one who always believed in them, even when they didn't and who always has their back- even now.  

That's it.  I think that's how I want to be remembered.  Not for my illness, not for my age, but for how I (hopefully) touched people's lives.

How about you?  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

More Changes

Great News!  The hubby started his first day of his new jobs- yes jobS yesterday!  Two days in a row last week he had interviews, one for full-time, one for part-time. The afternoon of the second interview he got the calls that both were offering him positions.  He immediately accepted- both.  I am very proud of him.  He doesn't have to take both, we are surviving on my salary (though) it's tight- but he wants to do so in order to catch up our savings as to what we spent while he was unemployed.  I don't know how long it will last- he is just past his 50th birthday after all- but I salute that he wants to try it out.

 Both are shipping/receiving so that's good.  The full-time position is at a local leather company, the part-time is at Lowes.  My only concern(?) (beyond him working himself sick) is that he will get a discount at Lowes.  Me working in and managing a bookstore is the height of temptation.  Lowes is that for him.  It could be dangerous-lol.  But hey- if he rebuilds our savings and then wants to work to buy "toys" for his man-cave- more power to him.

So- I got up yesterday and this morning and while I was making my breakfast and lunch for work, I made him a lunch  too.  He never eats breakfast and rarely eats lunch but I thought it would be a small gesture of support.  His hours, once he gets into the groove, will be 7:00am to 3:30pm and home for a bit, then 6pm to 11 or 12pm based upon the trucks coming in for the night.  I am already making my meals and it if makes it easier for him to actually eat- it's not a hardship on me.  Dinner for him Monday was pre-prepped from Sunday.  I made a lovely pork roast and veggies and we still have plenty of leftovers so all he had to do was plate and heat so he could have a real meal in between jobs.  Tonight he will eat something like Ravioli or Beefaroni that he only has to pop on the stove and heat.  I just didn't think ahead.

Another good thing about this is that it gives me an "excuse" to do an even better job of planning our meals.  Until my new Assistant Manager starts work(in a few weeks) I am working open to close on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays so I won't be home with him in between jobs to cook so we will be forced to think ahead- because there is no way he should be working that many hours without a real meal.   This not only will make sure HE eats- but that I stay on track as well.  That can make a huge difference in my efforts to stay on plan.  There is nothing so helpful for me than being mindful.

The only one I am concerned about is Auggie.  It's been months of changes for him.  First we moved into the new house in October and my schedule was flipped because of Haunt season and traveling for work.  In November he lost his sister when we lost Miss Harley.  They had been constant companions since 2009.  Then we went out of town for a plasma draw twice so he was in a hotel room for the weekend.   Then we went on vacation for a week-not to Grandma and Papa's as usual- over Thanksgiving so he was out of his element again. December he got his "Daddy" 24/7 when Jim lost his job and I went solo once to the plasma draw. and now it's January and Jim and I will both be gone all day again.  Add to that Josh, Karyn, Jim's brother and my parents spending time here in such a short time (when only Josh and Karyn had stayed with us over the years) and he's not sure if he's coming or going.  It will be very good for him to get back to a routine because for now he's out of sorts.  I am so thankful that he's a mellow mutt because if he was high maintenance- it would be big trouble.  He's not acting out- instead he's my shadow when I am home until about 10pm and then wants to play.  He's also not coming if we call his name as if he's "pouting".  We can look right at him and he will look at us and turn away.   I am going to have to get him to play earlier so we can get to bed at a reasonable hour.  I am sure he will eventually get back to himself but in the meantime- we will have to work with him.

So that's the new changes in our lives.  Thankfully they are mostly positive and I can be grateful to get back to another new normal.  Have a great day gang! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

My World In This Moment- **Picture Heavy**

Well- *my* football season ended tonight in a close game.  That frees me from sports until April when the Sox start playing.  Tonight (it's Sunday) I thought I would share a few pictures of the house, what I am up to and- naturally- Auggie.  No major post, just things I am grateful for today.  **All pictures taken between October 1st and yesterday.  They are not in order- Blogger is being a bear about moving them to where I want them**

 The House now that it's winter, and just before the snow

Had to include the monster bed.  I feel like The Princess and the Pea when I climb in. 

The Harry Potter collection in my home office: 

Auggie- King of my world: 


Just because it's true: 

 We spend MANY hours like this: 

My latest project- Wands for my store's upcoming Harry Potter Book Night: 

 The house while we were moving in- Miss Harley loved the back yard: 




A lovely glass sculpture from my Mama that is named for the Sisters hangs over the sink: 

Taking care of myself and getting back to cooking/prepping real meals:

Naturally- still Haunting in season: 

JOSH came to visit to help us move- and then went haunting with me.  :-) 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Ultimate Dinner Party

I am an unabashed Harry Potter Geek.  I have read the books over and over, went to the midnight premiere of each movie and have seen the movies every time I pass them on the television.  The cast is made up of a seemingly terrific group of well-adjusted kids and some of the luminaries of British stage and screen.  So when Alan Rickman passed away last week at the age of 69, I was truly sad.  The tributes, from all of those who had worked with him over the years were so poignant.  I found myself thinking "I would have loved to have met him."

This got me thinking about all of the people that I wish I could sit down and have a conversation with.  Yesterday being Martin Luther King Jr day, I would love to have a sit down with him and see what he thinks of the world we live in today and how much he feels we have progressed- or- regressed- in the years since his passing.  I've heard one version of this called the "Ultimate Dinner Party."  I've heard it done with just those that are still living, only those that are no longer with us, famous people, not-famous people and any combination.  I believe the guideline is 5-10 guests so you can spend time with each.

So I think I will do a bit of both in my journal.  I will do three dinner parties: only live and famous guests, only those who have passed and a "famous only to me" with a combination of both.  Once my lists are made, I will journal why I want these particular guests- and see what I learn about myself in the process.

I challenge you to do the same.  You don't need to post it- just do it.  See what you learn about you!

Have a great week.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Rush is OVER!

Well, my Rush is over.  I made it through my first rush without my Assistant Manager.  It was grueling and now I am paying for it.  I spent about 6 weeks working no less than 60 hours a week and my body has officially rebelled.  My everything is swollen, my everything hurts.  I expected to bring on an RA flare but this time I even brought on a Fibro flare.  When I saw my Rheumy yesterday I told her "even my skin hurts!".  She was pretty taken back because I rarely complain.  But- she put me on a 12 day dose pack of Prednisone, changed my muscle relaxer and now I just take the next 3 days to rest, relax and recuperate.
I don't love Prednisone but if it makes it so I can put on real shoes again- I will deal with it.

Hubby is still without work.  It's making both of us crazy.  He has turned job hunting into a full time job (as he should) but he's getting very frustrated.  I understand it but he has to understand that he's 50.  He's up against people much younger- and less "expensive" for jobs.  Oh well, what can you do, right?  Just keep plodding along I guess.  I shouldn't say it but I have kind of enjoyed having a "house husband" during my rush.  It took a lot of pressure off of me.  If we could afford it, it would be good for me to have him here full time to keep taking care of the house and all the day to day.

Now- it's time to go back and put my feet up and nap before the Patriot's game today.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend.