Hello 2019

It’s a new year.  The time when everyone makes grandiose resolutions.

  • Lose weight. 
  • Get organized. 
  • Travel abroad.
  • Find true love.

Not me.  I like to manage expectations. My resolutions are much more attainable. 

  • Don’t die.
  • Don’t murder anyone.
  • Make some brownies.
  • Eat some brownies.

Seriously though, 2018 was a pretty decent year all-in-all.  I may have started the year in the emergency room but it finished well. My job is awesome. My kids are doing great. Lex has a job she loves and is very, very good at. J is excelling in school and has a plan for College. Mike is as awesome as ever and his kids are happy and doing well.  There were ups and downs, as there always will be. But it was a good year.  My goals for 2019 are to just keep on keeping on. Have another good year.  Yeah, I have a few goals, but nothing crazy and nothing that, if I don’t 100% succeed, will kill my motivation and remove my will to live. 

Goal #1:

Start exercising again.

This goal is vague for a reason. I don’t want to define it too much because any kind of even semi-regular exercise will be more than I did last year.  So even if it is to take a walk a lunch 3 times a week or do some Yoga 4 times a week or something more ambitious like getting back into a regular running schedule … even if it’s a tiny bit of activity, it’s something.  Obviously I’d love to lose the 30-40 pounds I gained back.  But ya know what … I lost that weight primarily because I was super unhappy with my life and now things are great and I’m happy and a little chubbier because of it.  Big whoop.  Fat and happy was my Dad’s favorite way of answering the question “how are you?” So if it worked for him it’ll work for me too.  And if something happens and I drop a few pounds.  Bonus.

Goal #2.

Read more. And read more intentionally.

I’ve recently discovered a fantastic book lover podcast called Reading Glasses.  I found it late in 2018, but just in time to hear them talk about their book goals. Both what that did in 2018 and what they plan for 2019.  They have a Readers Challenge for their Podcast, but one of them mentioned the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge and so I checked that one out too … and I love it!  I love them both actually.  They go way beyond “read 20 books” or “read a science fiction book” and get very specific about what to read. 

The Reading Glasses Challenge has 5 book goals and 5 activity goals.  Book goals like “Read a Translated Book”  or “Read a Non-Fiction Book on a topic you know nothing about” and the challenges are things like “Reserve a book at the library” or “Send your favorite author a tweet.” It’s short and sweet and I hope to check all of the goals off of that one.

The Book Riot Challenge is a larger list (it also has its own Journal, which you don’t NEED to do the challenge, but the journal junkie in me is 100% nerding out over).  Books on this list range from “read a book written by a journalist or about journalism” to “read a book written in prison” and super specific things like “read a book in which an animal or inanimate object is a POV character” and “read a book published prior to January 1 2019 with less than 100 reviews on Goodreads.”

I’m excited about these reading goals.  I tend to aimlessly shuffle from book to book with no real idea what I want to read next.  Now I have some very specific things to find and the research portion of the challenge appeals to me just as much as the actual reading of the books. 

Do you have any fun and interesting resolutions or goals for 2019. Anything beyond the boring old “exercise more” or “lose weight” or “meet Kit Harrington and become Mrs. Jon Snow?”  Let me know in the comments … and Happy 2019! 

Out With A Bang

Never in my life have I done something so literal. My son and I sent the year out with a bang. I giant, wheel sqealing, glass flying, airbag deploying, Jaws of Life bang.

At about 7:45 on New Year’s Eve, 5-ish minutes after leaving our house, headed to a party, we were cruising down Dublin-Granville Road and another driver turned left into / in front of me.  She basically hit the corner of my front driver’s side, which spun us around, the passenger corner hit … something … and we came to a stop facing the opposite direction we started. It all happened in a matter of seconds.

 

The air was knocked out of me and I asked Jamison if he was okay. He said he was and asked if I was. I was not. It took a few deep breaths for my breathing to work right again. I had horrible pain in my right hand and left hip. But there was no bleeding and we were both conscious. Jamison called 911 and we waited. We were pretty close to Worthington still, so it didnt take them long to arrive. They got there an started asking the standard questions. When i tried to move my head to look outthe window at them, it hurt and I said so, which automatically called for the neck collar. None of the door would open, except for the back door on my side, so one of the EMTs got back there and put the collar on me. Jamison tried unlocking the doors and I did as well and there was nothing. He tried to open his door from the inside, and nothing. I tried to open my door from the inside, and I saw that my door had buckled slightly and my door handle was missing. Chelsea (the EMT behind me) told me that once the rescue team was ready, theyd be removing parts of my door to get me out.

The crew got to the car and covered Jamison and I with a blanket and got to work. I knew that they were obviously getting my door open, What I didn’t realixe untl I saw the pictures of the car, was that they needed both of the drivers side doors, and everything else for that matter, out of the way to get the back board in the car to get me out. They basically bend thd driver door back on itself so it was touching the front tire, and they took the back door and center support out completely.

At that point, they used the back board and got me out and into the squad while the rescue team worked to get Jamison out. He said they used the Jaws of Life to pry his door open so he could get out. Then we were off to the hospital.

 

I got to experience a lot of firsts that night. My first ride in an ambulance as a patient. The first time anyone has ever used scissors to cut my clothing off of me (my favorite grey sweater is now a very rustic cardigan). The first time I’ve ever been bruised by an IV. My first fun nick name of 2018 (more on that later).

After we got to the hospital, Jamison’s adrenaline started to subside and he started to feel some pain, so while they were working on me in the trauma room, they admitted him to check him for knee and neck pain. This entire time I have no idea what is happening with him. My mom brain was chanting over and over “where is Jamison is he okay where is Jamison is he okay where is Jamison is he okay.” It was the worst feeling ever. My pain was completely secondary to my needing to see him and know he was okay. Zero out of five stars. I do not recommend.

Summing it up, I had x-rays of my cervical and lumbar spine and my forearm, as well as abdominal ultrasound in the trauma room. On the way to the room, we stopped by CT Scan to get some more pictures of my cervical and lumbar spine. In the room they came and got a decidated x-ray of my hip. Then I waited.

After a bit, the doc came in and told me that my spine scans were all clear, so they could remove the collar and I could sit up. I never realized how happy I could be made by the phrase “you can sit up.” At some point I was told that Jamison was fine. No serious injuries, just bruises and soreness. He finally was discharged and walked into my room about a minute and a half into the new year. We waited some more.

After another bit, the Orthopedic doc came in and said they did see at least two small fractures in my wrist, and a possible third. The third one was the important one, becuase it would determine if I would need surgery or not. It was too close of a call for her to be comfortable making it alone, so she had paged the Ortho Fellow to take a look and weigh in. More waiting.

After an episode of “Forged in Fire” she came back to say that they wanted a CT scan of the wrist to get a better look. More waiting until CT was ready for me (they were down to one machine due to an unfortunate bed bug incident). The nurse came to take me to CT and said the beautiful words “Do you want to walk there?”  OMG yes please. Get these monitors off of me and let me move. We got to CT and the tech said “Is this 48?” and the nurse said “No, this is Trauma Hotel!” I was happy my new nickname was giving the staff such joy. The tech recognized me and congratulated me on looking much different than the last time she saw me. We got the scan and back to the room I went for some more waiting.

After 2-3 more eposides of “Forged in Fire” and then a partial re-watching of the first one again, the Ortho doc came back and told me she’d be putting me in a splint and I’d be ready to be discharged. More waiting and the discarge process started. It was quite prolonged, they were getting me pain meds to take before I left, plus a prescription, and the other paperwork. Then there was the added fact that I needed clothes, as what I was wearing earlier in the day had been cut to shreds by the EMTs. Also complicating things was my new nick name. Turns out a pharmacy would most likely NOT give me a prescription made out for Trauma Hotel. After this discovery, the tracking down of the Registration person, the special permissions and changing of my name, and the eventual finding of the paper scrubs, it was time to go.

We left our house at 7:45. We left the hospital at 4:45. Happy New Year.

And actually it is. 2018 can only get better. We didnt die. Jamison wasnt really hurt. And the most amazing man rushed himself (and his poor kids) to the hospital and spend the entire night walking between my room and Jamson’s room, making sure we were okay. A wise person told me that a person’s true colors come out during trauma and tragedy, and while I already knew this guy was pretty darn great …. now there is no question.

So Happy New Year wierdos. I’ll post updates as they transpire. One handed typing practice will be good for when I go back to work anyway. Hug your loved ones, life is precious and you never know when things will change. I count myself very, very lucky. It’s not a great situation I’m in right now but it could be so, so much worse.

In closing, here is a picture of a very sad door:

 

 

Positively Exhausting

I am currently making a concious effort at being a more positive and kind person. It is a daily struggle. Making this difficult for me is the constant battle against the war in my brain that happens, thanks to the fun Bipolar roller-coaster I am perpetually riding. Let me tell you … when your coaster car hits that low dip after the giant hill … being happy about anything seems nearly impossible. So to add to the chorus of voices in my head, I try to tell myself that kindness is the best way and negativity only makes things worse for me. And for the world as a whole.

As I go about my day, I am faced with choices. Every person I interact with, it seems, challenges me to temper my response or reaction.

The co-worker who starts the day with a complaint about the weather or the job or life in general. Whatever it is that has put them in a negative space right off the bat.

Me: “Good morning co-worker person”

Them: ” Morning. God traffic was horrible today. People are so stupid!”

Me: “Um … sorry to hear that. At least the sun is out today.”

The friend who you check in with every day or so, who is always tired or sick or some combination thereof.

Me: “Hey there friend! Happy Wednesday!! How’s your day?”

Them: “Ugh. I have a headache. I do NOT want to be here.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. Hopefully you’ll have an easy day. It’s Wednesday after all … halfway through the week”

These conversations, and all of the other variations of them imaginable, happen all ay long. I am constantly checking myself. Doing everything I can not to fall in the pit of negativity with them.

I know that 95% of these people probably don’t even know they are being negative. It’s not something that people go around doing on purpose. People don’t “want” to be unhappy. At least not all of them, there is always that 5%. But most people just seem to default to these kind of statements. It’s like it is expected by society to hate. Hate your job. Hate the weather. Hate traffic. Hate getting up on Monday. It’s just what we do. Remember … being kind is hard after all.

Here’s the thing: most days, thanks to whatever chemical is off balance in my brain that particular day, I am struggling to get through the day. Like just bare minimum make it through the day in a normal human way. When I’m in a “bad place” basic life can be a struggle. Getting out of bed. Taking a shower. Making myself presentable for society (doing my hair or make up). Eating food. These are things that can take considerable effort for me some days. And if my coaster is on an extra deep and long downswing … many of these things just don’t happen. Sometimes for many days in a row.

So when I get negative and complaining thoughts tossed at me like so much trash, it would be so easy for me to respond in kind and join them in a big old wallow of self pity. But what nearly always ends up happening? We go to war.

It becomes some kind of contest to see who’s life sucks more. They say they didn’t sleep well. I respond with “That sucks, neither did I” which gets me a “Well I only slept for 4 hours.” And when this happens … this is where my soul gets sucked out and I become exhausted.  Because my brain translates that response as “I only slept for 4 hours therefore I am more tired than you and my life is worse than yours.” And honestly, their life may be worse than mine. I don’t know. But my brain takes that translation, correct or not, and turns it into a giant steaming pile of guilt that quickly turns to something else entirely.

I start off by feeling bad that I complained back to them or sympathized in some way. I didn’t mean to start any kind of My Life Sucks More War. I backpedal and turn positive and maybe offer to help them with something to make up for it and … well help them. It starts as an honest attempt to be a good person to this human who is having a hard time. But them multiply that by all of the people you interact with that toss negative things at you and it can get to be a bit much. Then my brain takes things a whole new direction. In my attempts to end the war and negotiate a truce with offers to help and words of support … any real issues I may be personally having get pushed further and further down. My guilt monster tells me that my issues are stupid and don’t matter. This other person needs support and love. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get your shit together. Which reallly aren’t bad things to say to yourself if you are creating some first world problems for yourself. But many days, the depression and apathy towards life I deal with are not the same as McDonalds giving me a medium fry instead of a large one. Thereapy and research have told me time and again that self care is one of the most important things I can do for myself when I’m in a dark place. But my guilt monster is much louder than everything else and he is telling me that I need to “get over myself” and stop being a big baby.

So I negate my own feelings and problems and issues. It’s possible that I’ve had a migraine for 6 days straight. But if someone tells me they have a headache … I will be damned if I will say I have one too. Because nine times out of ten all that is going to get me is some response about  how much worse their headache is than mine. They don’t know I’ve had a headache for almost a week. They only know they have a headache and it really hurts. They aren’t trying to make me feel bad and inconsequential. But my brain can’t see that. All it can see is that I am weak and selfish and stupid and stop complaining already.

So when I’m in a dark place, as I have been for the last few weeks, being positive all day is freaking exhausting. Not because I don’t like being positive. It really is the best way to be and I truly do like caring for other people. It’s why I loved working at a hospital and why I actually do like working in public service. Helping people is awesome. But I always end up selling myself short in the process and just making my dark place that much darker.

I’m a work in progress. I’m always trying to find ways to make myself better. Ways to take care of myself and ways to convince my brain to let me take care of myself. But it’s hard. I’m my own worst critic and I end up in this sad spiral of horrible feelings and self hatred. My new job is actually a bit of a blessing. Being back in public service is helping me. I feel like I’m making a difference again and helping people, like I did at the hospital. Not in the same exact way … but close enough. Seeing a case come to compliance and an issue being resolved in a real and tangible way helps me feel better about myself. Which in turn helps me feel like maybe I deserve to take care of myself. My guilt monster still tends to be the loudest thing in the room but I keep at it.

So if you text me with a complaint I promise not to complain back to you. At least 90% of the time. I will try my best to respond with a kind word and a positive thought. If I can help in any way I will try. I will fail from time to time. I’m not perfect. I hate that the simple act of trying to be kind wears me out so much. But that won’t stop me from trying. I’m a work in progress and some day I will slay my guilt monster.

Until then … the sun is out and it’s Wednesday. The week is almost over.

PS: Leslie Knope is my Spirit Animal

Qualifications For Kindness

One of the things I do in my new job is answering our “Hotline.”  It’s a number people can call to report any potential or suspected illegal construction work being done in the city. Most of the calls I get are valid and require investigation. However, most of the calls I get are also from people being douchebags because their neighbor’s dog barks too much … or some shit.  #WhyCantWeAllJustGetAlong

I also get a ton of general calls that need transferred to other departments. In our main phone tree, people hear the word “Compliance” and figure that since we are the “Bad Guys” we can help them. Sometimes I feel like we are the Building Department’s version of the Principals Office.

I recently received a message from an older gentleman who prefaced his entire message with two disclaimers: “I’m a veteran.” and “I’m 71 years old.”

His message was slightly rambling with a tiny touch of incoherence. I’m ashamed to say my initial response was to write him off as “crazy.” He didn’t identify an actual issue and just stated that someone was trying to “do him wrong” and that he needed help.

I’ve been in a two-day training session and haven’t had a chance to call him back yet, the message is sitting on my desk. But now that I’ve had a day or so to think about it, I was struck by something with this guy.

Why did he feel the need to qualify his entire request for help with these two facts?  I’m a veteran.  I’m 71 years old.

I realized a couple of things. First, I felt horrible for jumping to the conclusion that this was a crazy old guy who was just going to be a waste of my time. I had no reason to just assume that he would be a huge pain in my ass.  #IKnowBetter

Secondly, what kind of society do we live in where a person feels like, in order to get some help, some common decency & kindness, he has to “prove” he was worthy of help because he was old and had served our country.

Every day we are given many opportunities to be kind. We are faced with situations and have encounters with others, a wide variety of chances of all shapes and sizes to treat others with some basic compassion. Every day people chose to by cynical. To judge. To react negatively. To turn away or ignore.

That is the easy way out though, isn’t it?

It would be so much easier for me to just forward this message to our general reception line. To write him off as inconsequential and wash my hands of him. Dump him on someone else and make him someone else’s problem. Not my circus, not my monkeys, right?

Why is the “right” way also the “hard” way?

Why are humans wired to judge and dismiss instead of naturally wanting to ask, or help, or care?

Now, there are people who buck this system. People who are naturally inclined to be kind and compassionate and understanding, just by default. (I know a few of these people and I’m lucky to call them friends. They are an inspiration to me on a daily basis. Yes I am talking about you Sarah). This is the kind of person I want to be. I don’t work at being uncompassionate. I don’t go out of my way to be judgmental. But in our world of instant gratification and social media, where we are surrounded daily by negativity and ugliness, it seems to be the default to always assume the worst.

I don’t know about you, but this shit drains me. I stopped watching the news a few years ago because it just plain bummed me out. Negativity sucks the life out of my soul. It makes me cranky and ugly and I really, really don’t like it.

So I try as much as I can to take a minute and think before I judge. Take a breath or two before I speak and say something ugly. Try to see the positive in a situation or the good in a person. I know this makes people crazy. My poor boyfriend is the biggest recipient of this. My need to constantly point out the other side of a situation, or arguing for the underdog. I truly don’t mean to be argumentative or negative or naggy. I just want the world to be a less negative place. Less ugly flying around. I am a self-professed “Lover of Loving Things.” I hate confrontation. I dream of a world filled with rainbows and butterflies and sunshine and unicorns. #SoSueMe

I have decided that when I get back to work after training, I’m gonna call that guy back. I may or may not be able to help him. He may very well not even have an issue that needs to be addressed by my department or any other City department. But he deserves a chance to tell someone what is going on, and it may as well be me. And not because he is a veteran, or because he is 71 years old. Simply because he is a human being and it is the right thing to do.

Participation Award

I did it. I got up on a work day, took a shower, did my hair and my make up. I ate some breakfast before I went to work. I did it.

These things may seem small and inconsequential to most people. These are things that normal humans do every day, just becuase. Because they are normal humans. I, however, am not a normal human.

I have Bipolar II. Usually classified as having extreme highs and extreme lows. I tend to trend toward the low most of the time. And my highs, while minimal, can be pretty destructive. Not like breaking chairs and punching walls destructive. But rather, destructive to my relationships and general well-being.

My highs, which are fewer and more far between than my lows, are times where I feel more confident than I really should. My two main “things” when I’m in a manic state are money and sex. Before my official diagnosis and subsequent treatment and medication and self-awareness, it could be pretty bad. I’ve done things in my life I am not proud of. I still experience these manic highs but am able to control them much, MUCH better than I used to. I’m on a pretty good path on that end and with some awesome support in my life currently, the highs are less … well … high.  I’m only getting to about the 3rd floor and not the Penthouse. I have mechanisms in place to help curttail any destructive behavoir and it is making a huge difference.

My lows, are another story.  I seem to have more lows than highs. These episodes last longer and are much, much harder for me to cope with and dig myself out of. And my support system is super understanding of these episodes but even with all of the kindness and love from these people, I still struggle with these sad days and dark thoughts.  My close friends call these episodes my “Hermit” days. They know that there will be times when I will essentially drop off the face of the earth and they won’t hear from me or see me for days on end. They know I’m hermiting. They will reach out and let me know that they notice. They know not to push me or judge me and that their gentle support will help me get through and once I’m out and on the other side of it, I will be more “normal” for a time.

But there are other people in my life, friends, co-workers, others, who just don’t understand. And that’s okay. I get that. I don’t understand it most of the time myself. My apologize sound like really bad excuses. Nothing I do makes much sense to a “normal.” It’s something I’ve come to learn after therapy and reading and living in these hazes. Not everyone will get it. They don’t have to. Whether they understand me or not has no bearing on how I handle my problems. Trust me, there is no person on earth who could pass judgement on me during one of my highs or lows that would cause me to feel worse about myself or give me more guilt than what I have already piled on myself. I am my worst critic. I am my own biggest hater. 

So on days like today, after a couple weeks of not taking care of myself. Of not showering or washing my hair for more days in a row than I’d care to admit publically. For eating chips and dip for dinner or Candy Corn for breakfast, or nothing at all for most of a day. After long stretches of just not caring about much of anything. To have a day where I took a shower, washed my hair, did said hair, put on make up, and ate something before leaving for work in the morning?  Damn straight I want a Participation Award.

I want a shiny trophy that simply said “You Did It.” Just to remind myself that there was a day that I was a normal human. Which means I can have many more.

Ya’ll Gonna Make Me Lose My Mind

I have never really considered myself much of a believer or follower of the kinds of spiritual beliefs or practices hat talk about “energy.” As many people do, I’m sure at one point or another, I scoffed at such things. Made rude comments or unkind jokes. You know, like humans do when faced with something they don’t understand. Don’t understand something? Tear it down. Make fun of it. Seems almost like a national pastime these days. But I digress. I didn’t come here to talk about the general lack of compassion and the inability (or unwillingness) to understand (or want to understand) other people/concepts/ideas/thoughts/beliefs/etc. I came here to talk about energy. Specifically negative energy.

I am in a place where I find myself surrounded by it daily. For large portions of the day. And it is starting to really, REALLY effect me. Not in a good way.

I have worked very hard over the last several years to change my outlook on life to be one of positivity. I’ve tried very hard, and continue to make a conscious effort daily, to not worry about the little things. To just let that shit go. Eliminate as much needless worry as possible and stop expending energy on stupid shit. Well, not really stupid shit, but all of the shit I can’t control. These efforts have made quite a difference. I have in no way eliminated worry or stress from my life, but I have reduced it. I have cut way back on the whole “stewing” about things part of worry. I have made very purpousful decisions about how I will let worry and stress effect me. I know that I annoy people when I say: “It is what it is,” but that phrase really helps me. There are a lot of things in life that you actually have ZERO control over. If you have no control over it, why let it control how you feel and react and respond. Your worrying or stressing about it is NOT going to change it. All you accomplish is generating needless bad feelings and unhappiness. Doing what I can daily to just let shit go has really helped me.

But over the last several weeks the veil of negativity is falling over my life again. I find my self having a much harder time not allowing the negative people I run across on a daily basis get to me. I end up every day cranky and angry and in a flat out foul mood. I have daily headaches that, from what I can tell, are just due to the anticipation and wonder of just how shitty my next day is going to make me feel. I’m exhausted from spending my days talking myself off the ledge. Breathing. Stretching. Looking at puppies online. Whatever I can do to try to offset this negative fog I find myself in. Now, some days are better than others. They aren’t all horrific. But the bad days are becoming more frequent and lasting longer and longer. I don’t like it.

Something has got to give. I’m hoping to get off my ass and start running again, hopefully that will help some. I’m going on an honest-to-God vacation in a couple of weeks. It will only be four short days, but it will be two days away from work and hopefully will help me at least a little. Maybe a little mini-recharge will be just what I need. Hopefully. If not I fear that I will need some of ya’ll to gather together with some bail money. Because some shit is gonna go down.

 

Long Time No Stuff

It has officially been a long-ass time since I’ve written anything.  I credit the fact that my life has been pretty nice recently and I haven’t had any emotional shitstorms to work through. But to be honest, if I’m gonna do this blog thing, I need to do it no matter what. So this is my official attempt to get back to it.

Due to my utter lack of creativity … I pulled this list of questions off of Pinterest and will now attempt to answer them. Some of them are kind of benign and some are approaching deeper waters. The deep water thing is difficult for me sometimes so I will consider this a growing experience. Ladies and gentlemen, I present:

“10 Questions You Never Thought To Ask”

 

1: If you could spend one day in someone else’s shoes, who would it be and why?  Jennifer Lawrence.  Becuase really … she seems like she has a pretty awesome life, right? She’s young and pretty and cool and very smart-assy. She hangs out with cool people. Totally would be J-Law for a day.

2: Which celebrity gets on your nerves the most and why?  Oh Lord have mercy there are way too many to even begin thinking about it. Pretty much any rediculous reality TV person or the “celebrities” who are famous for no reason. I will say that “gets on my nerves” is kind of a strong statment. Really I just don’t pay any amount of attention to them for them to actually get on my nerves in the first place.

3: If your life were a novel, what would the title be?  “WTF Just Happened: I Really Have No Idea What I’m Doing”

 

 

4: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?  A Large Animal Vet. I grew up in the “country-ish” and thought for sure I’d be a vet. The book series by James Herriot detailing his exploits as a country vet in England was my favorite as a kid. I read the whole series multiple times. I love everything about the idea of being a “country vet.” The dogs and cats, yes, but also the cows and horses and goats and pigs. There was something intriguing to me about being armpit deep in a cow, checking on her baby. And delivering a baby cow … forget about it. How freaking cool would that be?!?

 

 

5: How old were you when you had your first kiss?  Pretty sure my first little kid peck of a kiss was with Tim Pitcock in the hayloft of the barn on his family farm. We were in Kindergarden.  Yep.

6: Do you have any strange or unique phobias?  I have a fairly irrational fear of gas powered cooking devices. To the point where I am absolutley terrified of things like gas stoves and gas grills. I have used a gas stove but to this day have never actually turned on and used a gas grill.  They freak the shit out of me.  Somewhere in my brain all I can see is the damn thing blowing up in my face. I have no idea why I am so afraid of them. I’ve never been personally involved in a gas explosion. But damn they scare me.

 

 

7: If you could bring back one toy from your childhood, what would it be and why?  My BMX bike from my teen years for sure. God I lived on that thing. If I wasn’t out playing in the creek, I was on my bike. Going back further, that Fisher Price Barnyard with the animals stands out vividly in my memory.  I played the hell out of that thing.  Also … Legos. I don’t even need to say any more about that.

8: If you knew today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it?  Doing whatever the fuck I wanted to. I’d start with waking up to zero alarms. Screw alarms. I’d have some coffee and lots of bacon for breakfast, maybe with some other stuff … maybe not. I’d hang out with my kids and Mike and his kids all day. I’d spend as much of it sitting in the sun by a pool as possible, a beach would be even better. I’d drink fun adult beverages in the sun surrounded by my loved ones, reading a book and doing zero things. This

 

is just about as perfect a day as I could have anyway, and why not spend your last day relaxed and happy?

9: If you had to describe yourself using only three words, what would they be?  Caring, Sarcastic, Optimistic

 

10: If you could be any Disney villan, who would you be?  Yzma from Emperor’s New Groove. She is described as “comically eccentric” and I can identify with that. Also, she gets to work with Kronk and let’s face it … I love me some Kronk.

So … that’s that. Some kind of weird questions, but, I’m kind of weird so it all works out. What about you? Any of these questions tickle your fancy? Have any equally weird answers? Are you also quite certain your gas grill is going to kill you? Would you like to stick your arm in a cow’s arse? Let me know in the comments!!

Bullet Journal – 2017 Check In

Since we are about half way through the year, I thought I’d toss up some photos of what I’ve been doing with my Bullet Journal this year. I’ve been trying some new things and settling in on layouts I love and for the most part have been doing a pretty good job of keeping on top of it all.  I have had a few days a couple different times where I didn’t even touch it for days in a row. But, in the spirit of the Bullet Journal idea, I let that shit go and moved on.

Monthly Layout:  

This has been my montly layout all year so far and I really like it. Interesting but not super difficult to throw together. Some months I’ve added a doodle, most months I’ve colored in the boxes. I use these pages probably the least of all of them, but I like tossing them in just for continuity sake. Plus they are kind of fun to do. It also allows me to take a minute to wrap my head around what major things are coming up in the next month. I try to use this for birthdays and holidays and other similar important dates. I also put any major events or trips on my month view. Some months are busier than others. April, for example, probably had the most “stuff” on it of all of the months so far.

Daily Layout:

These are my workhorse pages. I have settled on a layout I really like and have tweaked it a bit as the year has progressed. Again, most days are pretty spartan as far as decoration go. I color them all in but don’t doodle nearly as much as I first did. Some days I will doodle. Some days I will put in a quote I really like. Some days I don’t do anything. Every day I track my water, so that box is on all of the pages. I did mood tracking (see below) a few months and that box is there during those time periods. I like to jot down my “daily trackers” on each daily page becuase I don’t always remember to go and fill in the little boxes on my tracker page (see below) every single day. I’ll take a day and go back and catch up and this box is very necessary, as my old ass brain can’t remember what it did last week any more.  I have played around with tracking food intake, sleep times, spending, exercise types, etc.  I kind of leave a large portion of the bottom of my daily page blank so I can put whatever I feel like in there.

Monthly Tracker Page:

Every month I choose a variety of things to track, in an effort to hold myself accountable for … something.  Whether it be water intake, exercise, meeting my step goal, not spending as much money, having some good “me time,” the list goes on and on. For the most part, every month this year has had the same things on it. I haven’t really taken a moment to go back to compare to see if I’m improving on anything, really. But I’m sure at some point it will be nice to do that. Going back to my main focus with this journal – don’t stress over it – I just try to keep track and then let it go. Don’t sweat the small stuff and try better tomorrow.

Mood Tracker:

This was my most involved mood tracker and took a long time to set up, so I won’t be doing this every month. But it was fun. I came up with a list of moods to track, assigned each mood a color, and kept track for the month, then filled in another circle with that day’s mood color to complete the coloring of the mandala. I followed the basic idea of Kara at Boho Berry and it turned out pretty good for my first try. She has a great video HERE to show how she set hers up. She is a great source of inspiration, so check her out! She has another “Circular Mood Tracker” that I may tackle next.

I’ll write a seperate post about my mood trackers and what I actually track, as well as my new tracker I’m trying for June. There are a TON of ideas out there on how to do this and June is only the third month I’ve attempted it. Again, I have not really gone back to compare or “analyze” my moods, but at some point I will do that.

Reading / Book Tracker:

Early in the year I set up my little “bookshelf” to keep track of the books I read this year. Looking at this now I am not reading as much as I’d like to. I better get on that. I either am not reading very much, or I grossly overanticipated how much reading I’d be doing this year.  Lol.

 My Journal:

To start 2017 I splurged on the Leuchtturm1917 notebook and I LOVE it. Totally worth it. In fact I’ve nearly filled this one and will be ordering a new one to finish out the year. I also “decorated” my journal this time, with some stickers I grabbed at Michaels. Honestly, it’s a little too uneven and unorganized for my little OCD brain to take, but the theme of the stickers was this whole Bohemian thing, so I kind of went for it and am forcing myself to accept that it’s a little messy and that is 100% okay.  The whole reason I started Bullet Journaling is to try to encourage myself to accept more messyness into my life. Things are not always perfect and that is okay. I’m the girl that came home from college and re-wrote my notes so they were “neat” and if I messed up (in my mind) on the page, I’d rip it out and start over. It was problem and I’m working to better accept imperfections in my life. I have a few pages that are total failures. I have a page or two that I simply crossed out and tried again on the next page. And I left that sucker in there. I didn’t tear it out and remove it from my sight. It’s there, in all it’s imperfection, as a reminder that shit happens and life goes on. Yes, I messed up that page, but look over here at all the boxes I colored in on my tracker that one day. It was a good day. I feel like it is helping me, a little. Baby steps right!

Do any of you use a Bullet Journal? Do you have a favorite layout or page or journal you use? Favorite pens or pencils or markers? I’m always looking for new ideas and inspiration!! Share in the comments!!

What a Difference …

… a year makes.

As I look back on the last year, I realize that I am, at the same time, exactly who I used to be and yet someone completely different.

I recently spent a weekend with some amazing old friends, and met some new ones at the same time. I made new connections and renewed old connections and had, potentially, the best weekend I have had in a very long time. I was relaxed and I had fun and I was 100% me. No excuses. No awkwardness. No guilt. Just me.

I was told that my new life looks good on me. I received untentional feedback on the changes I have made and it made me realize something:

I really like my life and who I am becoming. I phrased that as an active process on purpose, becuase it is just that, a process. I am not done yet. This particular weekend rejuvinated me and made me realize that my happiness is 100% in my own control. It made me rethink my daily thought process. It caused me to decide to start focusing on the positive and to try to eliminate any negativity from my life. I had a stress-free, positive, happy, wonderful weekend and it was amazing. I want every day to be just like that.

No stress. No negative thoughts. Only happiness and positive energy. 

Happiness is a choice after all. When you get up every morning, you can make the conscious choice to focus on all of the fantastic things you have in your life, becuase there are plenty of them, and let that positivity overrun any negative things you have going on. Push that ugly shit aside and get on with living the best life you can. You get one chance at all of this. Why waste your time and energy on anger and frustration and unhappiness. Why waste you emotion on drama or guilt. Don’t do it friends. Life is beautiful. It is a gift you get once and you have the ability to make it what you want it to be.

As I reach the end of the first year of my new life, the month of May takes on new meaning for me. It is traditionally, at least in these parts, the month of Spring. The month of hope and a change in the seasons, welcoming in sunshine and warmth. And I will do that in my life as well. Only sunshine and warmth for me. Happiness and lots more hugs. Life is awesome and I plan to live my to its fullest. Taking my happiness where I can find it and burying any negativity or stress or ugliness under mounds and mounds of positive energy. If you plan to bring any bad juju around me … prepare to watch me walk away. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Here’s to an amazing Year Two.  More happy. More love. More hugs.

Yay me.