More Good Stuff

Sunday here– and fabulous one at that!  What a great weekend it’s been!

If one pic sums up the weekend, this would be it:

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Ok– it wasn’t all lazy, but it was filled with comfort and joy 🙂

Friday night I skipped out on an after school work retirement get together.  This caused me a lot of inner turmoil but in the end I gave in to my self needs and care so I just didn’t go.  I had to drive by on the way home and literally wasn’t sure if I would stop or not until I was done past it.  Didn’t feel too bad.  I was eager to pick up my dog from daycare and get a workout in.  I did a treadmill workout when I got home, it was slow and tedious but at least I got it done.  The rest of the night was spent catching up on laundry and laying in my bed while my furbabies flocked to me.

I was in bed by 11:00 and got 10 glorious hours of sleep (had some catching up to do from the week).  I was a little disappointed that while I was sipping my coffee it was already 10:00 am, I felt like the day was getting away from me.  BUT.. not long hubby and I went to Sam’s Club (always a great weekend “adult” thing to do). I stocked up on pantry items and got some delicious fresh fruit (and some freezer junk food to put in the air fryer for Saturday night game night).

Saturday night was a little boring, but hubby and I did get in a nice game of Cribbage. I was in bed by 11:00.

I was up before 6:00 am today (Sunday).   I got a few things accomplished and then went on a great walk/run for over 3 miles at my fastest pace yet.  And now my puppy is wore out– always a great thing.

Now it isn’t even 11:00 am and I am already feeling super productive.  I ordered groceries earlier and they should be here in a little bit. My BFF is coming for a visit and we will probably do some shopping and she will probably bring her dog to play with my dog.

The last thing that I really want to get done today is a little work on some IEP’s (for school) that I have this week.   If I don’t it’s ok– it’ll just make the week a little busier–but I’m not going to stress about it.

I only have 6 days of work left and then am taking a few days off for an impromptu trip to Florida with the family.  I can make it 🙂

Perfect, low key, awesomely refreshing weekend living my best life ❤

 

The Game of Life is Hard to Play

Gonna lose it anyway?

Well, eventually, but hopefully not for awhile anyway.  (Lyrics from Suicide is Painless)

Back to work, vacation is over.  All good.

Sunday evening was a little rough.  I felt myself get crabby and edgy.  I thought of the Sundays of my past where I would be diligent about getting all of my chores done so that I could start drinking, the earlier the better.  Best if I was passed out before 10:00pm.  But no matter what time I went to bed, the Monday wake up was always brutal.  I fantasized for a moment about drinking my anxiety away, but didn’t.

I was so amped up Sunday night that I didn’t fall asleep till around midnight.  I was so grateful to wake up sober Monday morning.  Even with not enough sleep I felt so much better than a night of drinking.

Getting back to work was good.  I was in a pleasant mood and the kids seemed fairly happy to be back into the routine and were more relaxed than I expected.  The morning went great until I got a text message from hubby.

He found out that his sister had been taken to the hospital the night before with a super high blood sugar (she is diabetic).  He wasn’t sure how she was but his mom said that her organs had started shutting down, but since getting treated she seemed to be improving.  At this point he had very little info, but his parents contacted him to see if he could pick up her kids (who they have temporary custody of) from school.   After talking to him, I got through my afternoon groups but couldn’t focus or get any extra work done.

When I got home, the house was full with hubby and all of the kids (my SIL’s 3 plus our 2).  Everyone was playing and happy.  I made a good dinner (thank you instant pot!) and the kids ate well.  My in-laws picked them up shortly after getting dinner all cleaned up. By then, all of my chores were done for the next day.  I can’t imagine dealing with the stress of a family member in ICU and caring for her small children on top of regular chores with being hungover.  Thank God I was 100% functional!

My youngest has wanted to play the bored game (see what I did there?) LIFE since Sunday night and I promised him we’d play last night, so we made some time for it after the kids left.  We made the mistake of setting it up on the floor, and our dog destroyed it midway through.  It was partially my fault for throwing his ball down the hallway– I thought we was a little more agile and could jump over the game board, but he kind of destroyed it– a few times 😉  So we put it away and had ice cream sundaes instead… perfect ending to a kind of stressful and long Monday.

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Today, Tuesday, has been great so far.  I got up at 4:30 and got in a nice 3 mile walk/run before getting ready for work.  I felt happy, grateful and energized driving in today.  It’s helpful that we are having an unseasonably warm winter (it was like 40 degrees this morning, I got hot).  It’s a great feeling to be getting into the shower at 6:00am and already having over 7,000 steps on my Garmin.

Woo hoo!! THIS is my best life ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Extraordinary

The first day of the new year always seems to feel fresh and exciting.  SO many promises and hopes, dreams, etc.  A new chapter, the beginning of something novel.

I’ve been up since around 5am and it’s been so peaceful and serene around here. I’ve had lots of time to think and reflect.

2018: A Year in Review

Overall, 2018 was a good year.  Here are some fun memories:

  • Buying kayaks for our 17th anniversary, taking them out and having them sink in Lake Huron.  Having to be rescued by aunt Sandy and taking our wet kayaks right back to the freakin’ Walmart.  We bought the more expensive boats too– thinking that they would be nice.  Nothing nice comes from Walmart.
  • Making hubby go to a Refuge Recovery meeting at the Catfe.  The group meditation was wonderful until a cat peed in the money basket and on someone’s shoes.  The meeting only got darker after the meditation and I haven’t been back since.
  • Meeting my goal of riding my bike 150 miles in the month of June.  I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it for a minute.  Smashing that goal felt SOOOOOO good mentally and makes me realize that I need more weekly/monthly goals in 2019.
  • Finding Dr. Tent.  He has improved my health journey immensely.  I was like a lost soul trying to navigate natural wellness in the dark without a flashlight.  He’s lit the path for me and I am continuing to improve physically and mentally.
  • Discovering meditation.  I have found myself recommending mediation to practically everyone for every ailment.  You’re anxious but highly against taking medication?  Meditate!  You’re depressed?  Meditate!  You can’t focus to save your life?  Meditate!  You’re in pain? Meditate!  I can’t say it enough and the benefits are countless.  I even integrated it into my curriculum at school and created “Mindful Mondays”  where we start off our week by practicing mindful thinking for 5 minutes and writing a reflection in our journal.  This has been so successful that one of my parapros suggested we do it everyday the last week before break because the kids were so amped up and needed it.
  • Reading “The Four Agreements”  This book has become my bible.  I will blog about it sometime soon.  I have also found myself recommending this book to everyone for every which reason.  Understanding the principles of this book has provided me with inner peace and self love and respect that I was missing before.
  • Braces!  I. Still. Can’t. Believe. I. Did. It.  13 months ago my teeth were SO neglected.  I was terrified of the dentist and it had been over 5 years since I had a dental cleaning.  One broken tooth and a new dental office that I love changed everything.  Over the course of a year I was able to get all my problems fixed and my teeth cleaned (twice!).  Then the braces.  I’ve had them for almost 2 months and my upper teeth already look much more aligned.  It definitely has been a self-esteem boost.

Whew–  I am grateful for all of this!  I think that 2019 is going to be a great year.  I want to do more of the things that make my soul happy.

One area that I really want to rev up is my fitness.  I’ve been a workout slacker who is good about getting out there, but doesn’t push myself like I should. I’m going to be paying more attention to my pace and setting goals for myself.  I also want to incorporate strength training into my routine, even if it’s just twice a week (I HATE it– I just want to put on my shoes, go out and move without having to think about it).

I want to read more, write more (hello book, maybe?), meditate regularly, work on the steps, spend more time with family and friends, and I think I’m ready to take the vegan plunge.

Hello January 1st, Hello 2019– I am going to make you extraordinary ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Little Lost Soul

I have a soft spot for lost cats.

When I was around 5 years old, we took a trip up north to my grandparent’s cottage and brought our white cat, Bozo, with us.  When it comes to pets & animal care, my young parents were not the brightest.  Bozo was antsy by the time we got to the cabin almost 3 hours away.  They thought he might have to go potty, so they let him out of the car as soon as we arrived (not attached to a leash or anything) and he quickly disappeared into the woods.  I spent the rest of my childhood asking my grandparents if they found Bozo at the cottage yet.  We never saw him again.

Fast forward 35 years.  It was 2014 and we had just moved to our home in Novi.  We have indoor/outdoor cats but were cautious with letting them venture outside.  We slowly let them explore the outdoors and all was well.  

A couple weeks after moving in, our cat Milo disappeared.  We posted online, hung up flyers all over the neighborhood and prayed.  It was already an awful year, we had suddenly lost my mom a few months before and lost my grandma around the same time that Milo disappeared.  

This fortune gave me much needed hope in my search for Milo

Milo would be on the lam for about 4 months.  During that time we would also lose a young cousin and my grandpa, it was an awful year. Shortly after leaving my grandpa’s funeral up north in early January 2015, we got the call that someone found Milo, halallulah!  Surely this was a sign that despite the tough year, everything was going to be ok.

Milo was a more cuddly and loving cat after being lost for 4 months

Fast forward to Christmas this week.  While at my in-laws, the porch camera was activated on my phone.  I checked it and saw a strange white cat on the porch, but he quickly went away.  I saw him again the next day.  By this time I was concerned and tried to get him to come to me, but he ran. Two days later my youngest came downstairs to tell me there’s a white cat on the porch.  Long story short, I’ve been seeing him about once a day since then.  I posted him online, worried that he was lost. We have new neighbors next door and I’m hoping it’s theirs or maybe someone else got a new kitty (there are a couple outdoor cats in my hood – but not an unfamiliar one like this one).  Deep in my heart I’m worried that he is lost in the Michigan winter – like Bozo & Milo.  

The white kitty is coming closer to the house day by day

I hope this kitty is able to find his way home and is not cold and hungry.  I am keeping my eye out and trying to sweet talk him in case he is lost. 

After all, aren’t we all little lost souls in some way or another? 

Glorious 

The last thing I wanted to do today is get my butt outside & moving.  

I’ve been (yet again) decreasing my pred, so I have decent levels of aches & pains today & my foot has been ok but now I have a stiff ankle problem that I’m trying to work out.  Plus I’m a little sore from walking over 3 miles yesterday.  

BUT… it’s the end of December in Michigan and sunny and in the 50’s (rare, but wonderful).  So I couldn’t pass up at least a couple mile walk with the pooch.  

Before I left I was super crabby & short with my family.  Going out turned out to be the best medicine.  

The bright sun shining on my face was glorious.  The mild temperature seemed more like spring than the start of winter.  Shortly after getting out I felt much better.  I wanted to go at least 2 miles but ended up going to 3.  I even ran for a couple short minutes (nursing that ankle 🤨).  

Now it’s time to get these Christmas decorations put away & the house cleaned up and back together.  

Have a great day everyone!

Namaste: Deep Breaths after the Holiday

I bow to you, you made it.. WE made it!!  PHEW!!

Christmas for me, was actually really pretty nice (besides being overly tired from too little sleep the night before).  We leisurely spent the morning enjoying our gifts and cleaning up.  We walked to my in laws and had a delicious dinner (I can’t believe I actually was ranting a few days ago about it all being too ‘fancy’ – It was good food and pretty laid back.  Shame on me).  After dinner we played a few games, had a lot of laughs and then had time to chat.

My sister in law (the one who had her kids taken away last summer and is going through a divorce) was there and appears to be doing well.  She looks about 100 times better physically and we had an honest chat.  For a long time, it felt like we were fake and she was fake– having to fake smiles and not talk about this situation.  My hubby and I had some good one-on-one time with her and for the first time in a long time it all felt honest, raw and good.  I told her a few things that I had been meaning to over the summer (like acknowledging that any one of us, especially me who is prone to addiction, could be in her same situation had we married someone who spiraled down like her husband did and we also got to talking about going to AA).

I hope that my honesty and the things that I shared were helpful, but sometimes it’s hard to know and you question whether or not you made things better or worse.

We left around 8:00, which gave us some time before bed to chat about the day and get in a game of Cribbage.  Unfortunately, I had a hard time sleeping again (damn that Christmas eve blip– messed me up for days), but woke up without a hangover so I was still able to have a productive day.

I was busy the day after Christmas!  I packaged up and mailed my Avon returns, picked up meds for Jules, got my license renewed, had a lunch date with hubby, went to Sam’s club to get berries and cherries (hello toxic food detox), took Jules for a 2 1/2 mile walk, washed all of ours and our oldest’s bedding (he spent the day cleaning and organizing his room to make way for his new huge TV), took a nap, had lots of coffee and watched a movie.

Oh and when I was awake 1/2 the night on Christmas eve, I found a great Groupon deal to test for food sensitivities and gut issues, so I bought it.  I got the form completed and printed and mailed it off yesterday with hair samples for the test.  Hopefully this will help me on my journey to good health.

Last night I slept much better.  I had to get up at 8:30 because I had an appointment to pick up my orthotics.  Thank goodness I set my alarm, I probably would have slept past 9.

I just got back from my appointment and am going to take Jules for a walk before the rain starts.  I’m hoping to get all of the Christmas decorations put away and the house back to normal.  Need to get groceries but thinking about having them delivered (I shouldn’t since I’m off work right now, but MAN this service is really fantastic!).

Whether the holidays were joyous or stressful, or maybe a mixture of both, we made it!  Pat yourself on the back, indulge on the self care, take a minute (or two) to slow down and be thankful ❤ ❤ ❤

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Merry Christmas

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I’m feeling a mixed bag of emotions this morning.  I’m really upset with myself because I drank last night.

We were celebrating at my dad’s and my sister was drinking wine (as usual).  We brought a bunch of La Croix and Bai drinks and while I considered but then talked myself out of drinking wine, I ended up pouring vodka into 2 of my bai drinks.  My dad had a collection of liquor bottles on his counter (no one but my sister was drinking last night, this was from a party or something that he had previously).  I was bored and slightly irritated and it was there.

Didn’t plan on drinking and I’m not happy about it one bit.  The vodka actually stole my Christmas eve.  We got home early (around 8) and I passed right out.  Didn’t help arrange the kids’ gifts, didn’t leave out milk and cookies and didn’t move the elf.  On a positive note, since I crashed so early, I got up at 2 am to move the elf and leave out milk and cookies.  Then I proceeded to lay in bed for the next several hours, trying to sleep and trying not to hate myself for drinking poison last night.  I hate the drink!

Here’s the cool part:  MY relapses in the past have lasted days or weeks.  I’ve never had a one night blip.  I do not believe that I will drink tonight- or tomorrow night.  It wasn’t very fun to drink last night, it made me feel like crap, it stole the night with my family and now I’m going to be overly tired today from a night of messed up sleep.  Hopefully I will never drink again– and if I do– hopefully I can recognize for what it is– shit!  That is progress.

My day counter…

Today my day counter says that I’ve been sober for 16 days.  I’ve been meticulous about setting back my counter whenever I drink.  BUT… I’m considering not setting it back to zero- but to set it back one day.  Not that I care about losing the 16 days, but I’ve been diligently tracking my patterns and I’m sure that a month from now I won’t forget the one night blip on Christmas eve.  Also, I know this is very mental, but resetting back to zero almost gives me permission to drink the next few nights, because what the heck, I’m at zero already anyways right?  I’m still torn on this but will probably end up resetting.  I won’t forget that I had 2 weeks sober before Christmas.

Christmas Day

Despite the blip, missing last night and sleeping horribly, I am feeling pretty optimistic today.  Physically, I don’t feel bad (hungover).  My pred is working and I’m going to take a morning walk in a bit and am going to try to run a little.  It’s 6:30 am and I’m anxiously waiting for the kids to get up.  They only got one present from us, but have a few things to open from their grandparents and also full stockings from Santa.  Hubby has a few gifts for me (I have NO idea what they are– just small things we shop for ourselves for our big gifts) and I have nothing for him.  We may have a present for us from his parents, I haven’t checked under the tree yet (they drop off the kids and our gifts the day before Christmas).

We will be heading to his parents house later.  I decided that it will not be a repeat of Thanksgiving.  I will not listen to my SIL or MIL while they rant for hours.  I will listen for a few and then remove myself from the situation.  Hopefully there won’t be a repeat, but I am setting my boundaries just in case.  It’s nice because they live behind us.  I am going to excuse myself early and come home and hang out with the dog and watch a chick flick.

Soooo.. that’s it.  Kind of excited to get today over with and get on with this wonderful vacation.  Merry Christmas ❤

 

Summer Reflections

Summer 2018 is coming to a close!  Well, technically, we have about a month left of summer, but summer vacation is almost history.  Today is Friday and I go back to work on Tuesday.  I was at school last week for a meeting and most teachers are already hard at work setting up their classrooms.  Most of the prep work that I need to do I can do from home, such as sending out IEPs at glance and trying to get my schedule set up– so I typically don’t go in until I’m required to.

The summer of ’18 was one of my favorites yet.  Normally over the summer there are many times that I am bored, lonely and get depressed.  Depressed– as in– barely having enough energy for a shower and being in a general funk for days.  I’m happy to say that I didn’t go through that this summer.  The reason, I’m pretty sure, is both external and internal.

I’ve made a ton of growth internally over the past several months and years.  By internally, I guess I mean mentally and spiritually.  I used to think that everyone was mad at me or didn’t like me– and I don’t know why I spent so much energy worrying about all of that.  I’m not sure when or how this changed, probably due to the self help books that I read, but I no longer worry about other people.  I’m sure this has helped me to not feel depressed and has helped me at times when I’m alone not feel so lonely.

Externally, the summer was bustling and busy, with little time to be feeling down.  Cousins and the kids’ friends were over constantly, and a lot of time was spent with family and friends in both July and August.

There was that terrible situation towards the end of July when my mother and father-in-law had to take their 3 grandkids.  Since then, I’ve gotten my dose of little ones! My own kids are older and it is nice to have smaller kids to hang out with.  We’ve taken them to the park, the cider mill, swimming and other fun things.  Also, my niece is going into kindergarten and is academically behind so I’ve been tutoring her for the past few weeks.  After our tutoring session, we make time to do something fun like taking the dog for a walk or baking muffins.  It’s been such a blessing to have that time with her.

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Fun at the cider mill– my niece and my oldest 
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Spending time with little ones is good for the heart and soul

It sounds like my sister in law might get custody back in a couple of months.  I can’t say that I feel good about it or support it.  I’m really anxious and scared about it, but that’s a story for another day.  For now they are happy and safe and I have enjoyed building a relationship with them.

Here are some summer highlights:

  • I learned how to use the weedwacker
  • I got all my teeth problems fixed and have an appointment set up for an orthodontist consultation (I’ve been putting this all off for YEARS)
  • I rode 154 miles on my bike during the month of June (my goal was 150)
  • Paid off my smaller private student loan and faced my large federal loan after a decade of avoiding it
  • Learned how to make falafel
  • Read, read, read!  Read some great books for fun and also some spiritual books– my favorite being The Four Agreements.
  • Started meditating daily
  • Started the summer with a strong streak of sobriety– recent relapse has taught me some good life lessons (story for another day)
  • Started seriously working the steps
  • Had some spiritual realizations which have provided me with internal calmness and clarity– I am ecstatic to be able to pick up on signs and messages
  • Got iron infusions and am no longer anemic
  • Planted a garden which has provided me with some delicious fresh peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and squash

Yes, this summer has been a great one!  Today is going to be another fantastic day.  I have a lunch date with a good friend from work and then I’m getting my hair done.  I still need to get some new work clothes, get my nails done, go school clothes shopping with my youngest and schedule an appointment to get new contact lens– all in good time.

 

My Puppy, My Heart <3

It is Saturday and I have horrible feelings of fear and dread.  It started after work yesterday.

I had dropped my dog, Jules off at daycare in the morning.   I usually take him once a week to keep him socialized and to get out excess energy.  I picked him up after work and everything was normal until we got to the car.  He refused to jump up into the car.  I went to pick him up and he winced and cried and his back legs were shaking.  I had no idea what was going on so I walked him back in to see if anything had happened while he was there.  The person supervising his room said that he had a great day and nothing out of the ordinary happened.  She proceeded to feel his abdomen and legs, but he was stoic and showed no sign of pain.   She helped me lift him into the car and I assumed that he just sprained or twisted something while playing.

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Jules smiling on the outdoor slide at daycare 
He jumped out of the car when we got home and it didn’t seem to bother him.  He was acting ok but wouldn’t come up the deck stairs (he went down them just fine) or jump up onto the couch.  His back seemed ok when I gently pressed it and he was still wagging his tail so I was hoping that it wasn’t a spinal injury.  I messaged my friend who is a vet who said she could see him today if he is still painful.

By the time we went to bed he seemed to be getting around better.  He walked up the deck stairs after going potty and that made me feel much better.  This morning when we woke up, he also seemed ok.  Cried a little when he got up but came up the deck stairs ok.

Our neighbor stopped by and when she knocked Jules got up and started barking but getting up suddenly hurt him and he started crying.  Something is wrong.

He has an appointment to see a vet at 2:15 but I am so anxious.  I consulted Dr. Google and beagles are predisposed to Intervertebral Disc Disease– which can affect dogs as young as 3 and can result in paralysis and death.

Jules is my heart dog.  We got him in 2014– the worst year of my life so far.  In May 2014 we lost our 13 year old boxer.  We intended on waiting awhile (like a year) to get another dog– although I was continuously looking on petfinder because not having a dog created a huge void in our house.   In July 2014, I lost my mom suddenly.  On the morning that she died, I looked at hubby and said, “I need to get a puppy.”  He understood.

We found Jules’ litter through a rescue, but had to choose which puppy without meeting him.  There was only a couple of puppies left who didn’t have homes yet.  We picked Jules because they said that he was a laid back puppy, liked to play but also liked to be lazy– which seemed to be a perfect fit for our relaxed family. His personality did not disappoint– he was exactly what they described.

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Jules as a puppy
My mom died early in the summer, so there was several weeks that I was out of work after she passed.  Having to take care of such a young puppy helped me navigate through those early weeks of grief, especially with so much unstructured time.  Meanwhile, Jules and I were creating a bond like no other dog that I’ve had before.  I’ve always felt a strong emotional bond with him and often wonder if it was because he was so young and impressionable while I was so sad and vulnerable.  He is truly my heart dog, sent from the heavens.

Now at almost 4 years old, he is my best friend.  He is always up for going on a run/walk with me, even at 5am or is happy just cuddling with me under a blanket on the couch with a good movie.  When I’m at home he is always by my side.

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No matter what he’s doing, Jules is often a source of entertainment in our household
Now I feel so scared and anxious.  I’ve often dreaded him getting into teenage years and having to say goodbye and how completely awful it’s going to be and kind of symbolic given the timing of when I got him.  NOW he could have something as awful as IVVD at age 3?  What if I lose him at 4 or 5?

Ok– enough dread and worry.  I don’t think normal people worry this much about every ache and pain their dog has– but then again I’ve never been normal.

I will take deep breaths and deal with whatever God is going to give me.

His appointment is in an hour.  Hopefully I will feel better afterwards and some of this anxiety will go away.

On a happier note, today is Day 30 for me!  I have barely thought about it and am not enjoying it much, but I am happy to report that this extra stress is not triggering me so far– and hopefully that continues.

Happy Saturday everyone ❤

**Update**  Vet visit went well!  His back checked out ok and his reflexes were good!  The doctor thinks that it was a sprain or strain and gave him an injection of Rimadyl.  He will prescribe orals if it doesn’t improve.  I am so relieved and hoping for the best!!!!

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