Back to School

February 28, 2021

Day #704

My boys, who have been attending school two days per week, are going back full time starting tomorrow. Five FULL days, which is amazing! They are kind of salty about it, and are complaining that they won’t be able to social distance. Anthony and Andrew are in their senior year. The fact that they have (or get) to go back full time in March, the beginning of the best phase of the school year, PLUS it’s their senior year, makes me have zero sympathy for them. I’m happy they’re going back.

Anthony would like to return on March 13th, instead of March 1st, for nostalgic purposes alone. I’m stoked that this all started and the schools closed down in March of last year, so now we’re all returning on March 1st. It feels full circle. It feels refreshing. Although, sometimes I wonder where the past year went. It was like a blur, did it even actually happen?

Things at the school I work at are a little different. Our students have been fully remote, except for the special education students, who have been coming in to work with Liz and I in small groups or individually. Tomorrow, our students return two days a week. So whoever wants to keep their kids at home will still be remote, but the kids who are coming are split into two groups and each attend two days.

I. Am. So. Excited!

The school has been big, and empty, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. I’ll always have memories taking motor breaks with my 3rd graders. I have two that I see together and they are ecstatic to come back to school. Since the fall, these two practically drool when we walk by their general ed classroom, peeking into the big empty room with huge eyes and a bit of excitement laced with disappointment. I am so happy for these two to come back.

Speaking of those two 3rd graders, something small but profound happened last week. I was working with them in my room, when their teacher peeked in to ask me a question about a meeting we had that day. She felt terrible interrupting and was trying to be quick about it. When she left, I realized that I should have introduced her to her students. I turned to Kayla and said, “Shoot, that was your teacher. I should have introduced you.”

Sassy old soul Kayla replied with, “Yeah, I know.”

“Oooooh, yeah that’s right. She’s been teaching you all year (remotely), I’m so silly, of course you knew who that was.” I felt foolish, as they had been working with her online all year long.

I was still kind of bummed they didn’t get to say hi in person. Their teacher stopped by again at the end of the school day and I told her what happened earlier. My remorse over not introducing them, then realizing that I don’t have to because they already know each other, etc. Her mouth dropped open.

“Those were my kids?” She asked, with a shocked expression.

The utter disconnect hit me hard. No fault of the teacher, the kids had masks on, it is really hard to recognize people with masks on, plus she was trying to not interrupt my lesson. But three people, who have relationships, who have been working together since September, were feet apart and didn’t even know it. For some reason, it makes tears come to my eyes but not in a happy way. I hope Sylvia Brown’s prediction of school going all online in the 2020’s is inaccurate or maybe predicted based on the short stint that Corona forced upon us, I sure hope so because I don’t think online learning is good for anyone, minus a few exceptions.

We are still wearing masks everywhere. Some are more fanatic about it than others. For example, we don’t wear ours when we are outdoors, even in public like a park, but some families still do.

Stores are fully stocked and have been for a majority of this whole thing and medical appointments seem to be running fairly normal.

Vet Clinics are still staff only. This means that I have to wait in the car, for everything (well except for when Jules started his allergy injections last summer- they let me come in so they could coach me through the injections).

During this year, Milo and Zoe have both needed some intense appointments. Milo had a wound, then tooth problem, so he had them all cleaned but was kind of slow to recover and I was worried for a bit that something else was going on. Zoe recently had cellulitis and was treated at the ER (while I waited nervously in the car, something I’ll never get used when they have a problem). Her recheck a few days later showed an increased fever, and she got more antibiotics. Her fever was even higher the next recheck, and when he picked a scab off her cellulitis, puss came pouring out. She had an abcess inside. He put her out and cleaned out her insides, with the abcess going all the way into her armpit. She came home with a bloody belly and a little drain tube sticking out.

I hated taking her in each time, especially since I couldn’t be with her. I haven’t met the doctor who did her surgery in person at all and that made me uneasy too.

I’m happy to report that she appears to be all healed up. She was a doll during it all. She had her abscess surgery on a Friday afternoon, so I was grateful that I would be home to watch her for a few days. She spent the weekend laying with me (all over my Reiki binder that I was using to study the Reiki class I was taking) and letting me use a washcloth to groom her wounded belly. She had to wear a cone until the drain came out, and it was heartbreaking watching her try to clean herself.

But somehow, the whole thing bonded us. She is closer with me now than ever before and I can’t help but to think that she knew and appreciated me taking care of her. I am so grateful that she is back to normal, Zoe is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had and my whole family was worried about her when she was sick.

Feeling much better!

My Greatest Teacher

For the first time in 7 years, I felt joy when I saw the date, February 13th.

It was my late mom’s birthday. She died suddenly in 2014. Her birthday, just like her deathday, can be a sad and overwhelming time.

I didn’t allow myself to feel guilty, for feeling joy, on this day, although my ego tried to be persistent.

I would honor her by having a nice, cheery day and would light a candle and say a prayer at 2:13pm, and I did.

When I was five, I found a picture of my uncle Bob. He died of cancer a few years earlier when I was just a toddler.

My mother and I had a conversation about death next. It ended abruptly with me in tears and my mom trying to reassure me.

I was lucky enough, if you call it that, now I call it oblivious and unseasoned, to not have to deal with death much in my early life.

As the years passed, my sisters and I often recognized that it was rare that we were in our 30’s/late 20’s and still had all four of our grandparents.

My mom’s dad was the first to go, from a slew of health issues. He was in his 80’s. It was 2008 and I was 31 years old.

The death, the funeral, all of it was sad, but not unreal. He was old and lived a really great life with a huge family and a lot of kids and grandkids. He lived a fulfilling life and while it was glum, it was a normal thing to have happen at my age.

The next death was much different.

In early July, my mom was rushed to the ER with a bowel obstruction, the day before she was supposed to meet us up north for a family holiday.

My little family had arrived up north the night before, but headed back home when we got the news.

They did surgery that evening, but she died early the next day from being septic. Her car already packed for our Fourth of July holiday.

The days, months and years following were very tough. However, it became apparent to me about a year ago that her death was the worst, and best thing for me to experience in my life.

How ironic, that our conversation about death was cut short so many years ago, never to be brought up again, yet her death turned out to be one of my biggest life lessons.

I’ve grown like never before, since that tragic summer.

The number one, biggest factor in all of my growth was quitting drinking. This was the beginning of a rebirth.

My drinking spiraled after losing my mom. I drank responsibly (for the most part, at least from what I remember 🤷🏼‍♀️), but then again drinking every night was not very responsible. I woke up most mornings not remembering going to bed.

I sank down pretty far, so much that I couldn’t stop drinking. Not even after waking up day after day with miserable hangovers. I would swear that I would quit, or at least cut down. But by evening, the guilt, shame and promises we’re replaced by Betsy, telling me how much I deserve and need a drink. Which of course would turn into half a dozen- or more.

I spent summer 2016 floating in the pool with a drink, telling myself that if I got a sign from my mom or the universe, like a bird landing on the side of the pool, then I would quit. The lack of signs was the perfect excuse to continue sipping away.

And I did, for the entire summer and beyond.

The desire to stop, accompanied by the inability to do so, propelled me into sobriety once I discovered sober groups and started to connect with sober people, who seemed to be having way more fun in life than I was.

This opened the door to an endless path of learning, growth and self-improvement.

My sober studies led to learning about the law of attraction and the life force energy.

My studies on the law of attraction drew me to soul work, where I experienced magic and miracles in everyday life and activities (see all blog entries from the summer 2019- the ‘spiritual’ summer).

The soul work led me to developing a stronger intuition.

Communicating with my intuition urged me to learn more about energy, such as how to perform Reiki and tapping into my psychic abilities.

I never in a million years would have imagined me full out hippie witch in my mid-forties- yet here I am.

Happiness and suffering go hand-in-hand. This may explain why I was such a rotten adult in my 20’s and 30’s. My ego overshadowed everything and I went through life with a ‘poor me’ attitude.

My mom often urged us to be grateful, especially as we all got older. I would reply that “I was grateful, for our home and food.” But I still went through life searching for something that felt empty.

Her death taught me what it’s like to feel grateful, like intrinsically glorious at a given moment for the simplest things in life- and to feel so fortunate for that minute, yet grand, experience.

This post is dedicated to my mom, who continues to teach me deep lessons from the afterlife.

Ironically, the most important thing she and her death taught me is how to find my own peace and happiness amidst the chaos.

Day #690

Day 676 – What’s in Your Garden?

“We don’t see things the way they are. We see things the way We are.” -Talmud

I used to see the world through a different set of eyes, because of the way I was. I’ve changed, and so has the landscape I look at everyday.

But it’s not the landscape that has changed.

I used to spend my time watering my weeds. I spent endless energy fueling a fire that was burning my house down. All the while thinking that I was dousing it with water.

Most things I did, including daily chores and gatherings, were done reluctantly and sadly, unless, of course, my old pal alcohol was involved.

My world revolved around it. My fake world was burning to the ground and while I feverishly worked to keep everything under control, I missed the abundance of flowers and the sunshine in the real world.

On Day 675 my youngest hurt his foot sledding & we thought it was best to take him to the ER for an X-ray.

It was about 6pm and because of Covid, only one of us was allowed to stay with him.

I didn’t hesitate, nor did I give hubby a choice. I stayed.

While we waited, I didn’t have a care in the world (he wasn’t in pain unless he walked on it). The hospital is just a couple miles away and very nice. One we got into a room, we had cable tv! We don’t have cable at home, so it was a treat.

All the while my previous landscape was in the back of my head.

You wouldn’t have stayed.

You would have gone home and started drinking before he even got back.

If you had stayed with him, you’d be jonesing, just waiting to go home and “douse” the flames.

Man, my inner critic never let’s me forget.

And neither does the Universe. A woman was getting dropped off for detox while we were there. I heard her daughter talking to the nurse after they took her mother. My heart hurt for them and I was reminded of how blessed I am.

These days I’m spending zero time watering my weeds. Instead, most of my time is spent watering & admiring my flowers, and pulling out weeds here and there as the need arises.

What’s flourishing in your garden?

What do you see in your landscape?

Always Watching

My oldest kiddo is a huge Tetris fan. When one of the most well known champs passed away recently, he was in shock.

He told me about a headline he saw, saying Jonas Neubauer has died, which he thought was a joke. Then he told me about his wife’s Twitter statement, confirming the awful news.

He passed away due to a ‘Medical Emergency.’

The first thing I thought is that he passed in his sleep, of drugs, alcohol, or both. I jumped to this conclusion because by now in my life I’ve known people who die in their 30’s. If it’s not a car accident that kills them, it’s more than likely drugs, alcohol, or suicide. Or a brain aneurism.

I didn’t want to be negative, so I suggested it could have been a brain aneurism, which is sudden and not terribly uncommon.

“Yeah,” he cooly replied. Followed by, “he was a big drinker. He would drink every time he streams, and at every tournament.”

Nothing else needed to be said.

They are always watching. Always 🤍

Day #661 and forever grateful 💙🙏🏻

Day 653

I can’t believe it’s coming up on TWO years since I’ve had a sip of alcohol.

One of my favorite songs is “Hate Me” by Blue October.

For YEARS, I listened to the line, “
I’m sober now for three whole months it’s one accomplishment that you helped me with” and couldn’t fathom 3 whole months. It’s still one of my favorites, and I can’t wait to say, “Three whole years.”

I’ve been seeing a ton of posts lately from people just beginning their sober journey.

I think of the years I spent, writing on here, about day 1 after day 1 after day 1. At times I felt like a sham, “Hi 👋🏻, me again, I F***ed up yet again.” Feeling like a sober imposter.

I didn’t understand it, any of it. I felt great during sober streaks, so why did I keep falling into the moderation trap? It never seemed to work, and just left me thinking of alcohol 24/7.

I want to hug all those in the very beginning. I want to tell them that showing up is half (or more) of the battle. And if they f*** up, to not give up. Keep showing up, reaching out, utilizing meetings & connecting with others, and to keep building that sober toolkit. I want to promise them that they’ve been lied to and there is so much more to life than feeding the monster while keeping it at bay.

I’m hopeful that people are starting to wake up. 🙌🏻☮️🦄

The Man at the Bike Shop

The Man at the Bike Shop- Cocoa Beach, Florida

I didn’t like him at first, he really irritated me. When I called, the lady who answered said they had a bag on the bike for our belongings, but when we asked at the shop, the man sternly said noooooo like we were off our rockers.

I had a wrist compression sleeve on and he asked about it while he was helping me with my bike. I told him that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and a current flare. His next question got my attention. “What is your diet like?”

Nobody asks that question and I dubbed him immediately as one of my people (holistic/against the grain). I’m not against doctors, or my rheumatologist, by any means, but they do seem to be about 10-20 years behind the current trends (although these “trends” have been practice in the East for eternity- the West somehow got away from it, probably during the industrial era, AKA factory prescription drugs).

He told me to get turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, and garlic and to put it all in a capsule to take about 4 a day. He says it’ll help tremendously with inflammation, and also with healing my gut (80% of your immune system is in the gut, so if you have autoimmune problems, the gut is a good place to start). He talked my ear off about all sorts of things: juicing, diatomaceous earth, and the 7 important energy centers located in our body that can clue us in on problems (AKA Chakras). These are all things I do, or have done, so it was exciting to get some more information.

He claimed that people from all over in his area came to him for the magic inflammation pills. He’s also writing a book on all of this.

He works at the bicycle shop and is happy as can be, enjoying passing along important matters to the boss and not having the burden on himself. He used to be in the marines, then worked for GM. He had a family but recently went through a divorce, sold all his things, retired and is enjoying the good life on the beach with a side a job that makes him happy, and not stressed.

I spent part of my Sunday stuffing capsules with these spices

Since talking to that man, I’ve been consciously more healthy. I’ve been juicing regularly, taking that spice combo and trying to eat mostly whole foods in hopes to decrease my inflammation/flares. I believe that we come across people for a reason, and coming across this guy seemed to be great for my motivation.

That was last week.

Two days ago was Monday and we were back from winter break.

It was so overwhelming to think about going back this time. Usually I’m ready to go back, to get a good start to the new year and wait for the spring countdown to start.

I hate my job right now. I don’t feel effective most of the time. I get a stomachache when I think of coordinating meetings, parents or other teachers who don’t answer calls or emails, testing that needs to be done in a short window and takes a few of my students hours per test, the grossness goes on.

Most of my students want to be at school, this is hard on everyone.

Each day I’ve been daydreaming of purging all our stuff, moving to a shack on the beach and selling tacos out of a truck.

🌴🌊☀️🌮🚐

Survivor Guilt

I came across this post yesterday, and it made me cry.

Why her and not me?

I guess it hits hard because as I’m working on my vision board, I’m feeling so incredibly pumped for year 44.

And I think of the people in my life who are still drinking regularly, and think, why have I found recovery, and they continue to deny?

And it’s all good because it makes me hate alcohol even more.

But why do I get to see the truth while others continue to be lied to and live a facade?

Why do their kids have to suffer, while mine see me thrive as they enter into adolescence/adulthood?

Why me?

Why not them?

Q

No Vision Board

I’ve been working on this vision board for two days and I’m stumped.

I’m afraid it’s going to look exactly like my last one, with lots of fresh food and workout pictures, plus writing successes.

I want to be specific.

I don’t want to be too specific.

I may be afraid of commitment.

What do I want for 2021?

I want to finish a book! I have a ton of ideas and several books started with the intention of “whipping it out and self-publishing in a week’s time.” But then I get bored and abandon the WIPs.

I want to learn about chakras and how to do Reiki. I bought a course for $16 over the summer and have finally started it.

I want to learn more about intuition and our 6th sense, and get better at accessing these.

I want to continue to improve my diet, by decreasing processed foods. I want to learn more about using supplements to help my body where and when it needs it.

I want to be a better parent. There are a lot of areas for me to improve on here. Mainly, we need more structure & follow through. We are both so bad with follow through…

So… back to the board I go….

How about some Self-Love for 2021?

Self love is the foundation of health. Without it, our lives can become unmanageable, and it can happen so gradually, we may not even realize it.

It’s not always easy, and can feel really icky to take care of ourselves. But self-care makes up the blocks of that foundation. It can feel greedy when we set boundaries with family members or have to say no to an invite or favor. Sometimes we have to put ourselves first, which feels self-centered, but we have to take care of ourselves #1. If we are not well cared for, it’s nearly impossible to care for others. 

Happiness comes from the inside. When we don’t love ourselves, it’s nearly impossible to feel joyful, unless something really big happens- like winning the lottery or buying our dream home. On the other hand, when we practice self-love, we’ll find glee in the most mundane of places. I sometimes cry tears of joy while driving because the gratitude I feel for this life is overwhelming. It’s always a wonderful feeling and one I’ll never get tired of. 

Where to start?

Start with actively forgiving yourself. I don’t care how terrible you were or are, I urge you to realize that you were doing the best that you could do, and move on. Close your eyes for just one minute. Think of one or more things that you feel guilty about, thank the feeling for giving you the insight and then let it go. Visualize it floating up far far away. 

Notice your thoughts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve proclaimed, out loud to someone, that I will be winning the worst mother of the year award, and meant it. I slam myself all the time, and so do my friends, which makes me think it’s kind of normal. Now that I know better, I have a name for those thoughts and have gotten good at sending them away. Sometimes my mind says nasty things about myself, which I’ve gotten better at noticing the absurdity of these thoughts. 

Start with these things and notice that it doesn’t really require you to “do” anything. You don’t have to wake up early, or do X minutes of whatever. Just notice and forgive. 

This seems so insignificant, but it’s the small shifts that create an avalanche of change.

So how about some self-love for 2021? I think we all could use it <3 

Self Love

 

 

 

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020 will always bring me cherished memories. It will be remembered as an anomaly, and not because of the pandemic. This is the year we left stress, negativity and drama behind. And it was amazing.

The last two trips to Florida were in January and February and the weather was awful both times, so we didn’t go for the weather, and planned on bundling up/staying inside.

To our surprise the weather was gorgeous and hot. The whole week couldn’t have been better.

I ran around the block with my 15 year old nephew the first night, it was exhilarating.

All four boys, my two, plus my nephew who we have custody of plus the nephew in Florida meshed well the entire week. I should mention that we stayed at my sister’s house— a modest 3 bedroom home and having 5 extra adult sized people for a week can be, well, stressful. The kids were rockstars and my poor nephew in Florida was sad to see all our boys go.

We had some nice adventures. We kayaked with alligators, which was just awesome. The last one we passed (pictured below) was the smallest one we had seen so we got nice and close without getting scared. The weather was perfect.

On Christmas Eve day we went to the beach along the Atlantic Ocean. The waves were huge, the air was warm (80 degrees) and the water wasn’t too cold.

We all played in the water. Usually I play for a second, if that, before getting too cold. As I sat on the edge with my youngest and got knocked down by wave after wave, I realized how unique this was. It can be 80 or 90 and our pool water can be in the warm side, but I’m always cold in it no matter what. My chills were absent that day. I was perfectly fine, not too hot or cold. In disbelief, I checked my arms multiple times, but no goosebumps. For me this is really unheard of, and I consider it a miracle.

Hubby and I also rented electric bicycles and had some cool adventures riding through Cocoa Beach. We’ve wanted to try them for awhile and once again, the weather was amazing. I was hot in a tee shirt and was ecstatic that we were riding and hot in late December.

On the last night, we took the boys to Andretti’s Thrill Park. They had a blast, and rode their favorite, the go carts, several times.

The soul work I’ve been doing for a couple of years now appears to be paying off. I was so much less stressed than ever before. Usually on vacation, I worry excessively about my pets. I didn’t check on them once.

Even when my cat sitter called and said she might have corona, felt super run down and had to miss a day, I remained calm. When the dog daycare/boarding place called to say that Jules had projectile vomited during the snack and snuggle session, but was otherwise okay, I kept my cool, and let it go knowing it was out of my hands and not to worry.

I noticed the people I encountered, I mean really noticed them. What I concluded from my observations is that the small interactions we have on a daily basis is far more purposeful than I thought.

The old family friend we helped move, she gave me a new perspective on the audience I need to consider when writing spiritual books.

An active alcoholic who seems to have fond memories from rehab, as a cute/handmade religious sign on his walk hit me on the head. He talked about a friend from rehab making it for him.

Countless people from all over who relocated to Florida and I had small conversations with.

The rude lady at the airport who griped about a lady cutting the line, but later cut right in front of me. I almost said something like, “for someone complaining about cutting, it’s funny you cut in front of me. But I didn’t, and let the thought go. Later I found out something that gave me an enormous amount of empathy and I was reminded that we have no idea about people’s struggles.

The man at the bike shop who asked me about the brace on my wrist. I told him I have rheumatoid arthritis and knew he spoke my language when he asked about my diet. He gave me a recipe to make a supplement that will help with inflammation, and talked a great deal about the holistic/spiritual things I’ve been studying. He’s a self-proclaimed healer and is writing a book. I concluded that he has monkey brain like me, and am thankful for the knowledge he shared with me.

The old me would do anything to avoid any type of interactions while out and about. Now I’m blown away at the things you can learn from a stranger.

The old me also would have been counting the days of my vacation. About halfway through I’d be ready for it to be over, eager to get back home.

Not this time. I paid no attention to days or not having my dog in the bed, or going back to work, none of that was on my mind.

My sister noticed and told me she’s never seen me so relaxed during a vacation. The soul work I’m learning and practicing has instilled some automatic habits. I’m not thinking about tomorrow. I’m not thinking about yesterday, or worrying about things that didn’t happen.

I’m living in the moment, and it’s glorious.

And I’m loving everyone, even the tough ones, because more often then not, they’re the ones who need it most.

So that was Christmas 2020 🐊☀️🎄 Day #643