Saturday, July 6, 2013

#6—Gearing Up for Getting Older

So in roughly twenty minutes I'll be one year older.  Forty four has an interesting ring to it.  However, I'm still in denial about being forty two, so I'm not at all sure how this is going to work.  I think it's so funny how from my own perspective, I don't feel any older than I did ten years ago.  I still like to do a lot of the same things, I still have basically the same philosophies and points of view, and even look pretty much the same, with the exception of a few more wrinkles and gray hairs.

I remember when I turned forty, I went through this very short-lived traumatic period that I had grown older looking overnight.  My skin was dry and dull, my hair was turning gray, and I swear overnight I had developed wrinkles.  I went out and spent thirty bucks on some Oil of Olay, and three days later my skin felt the best it ever had.  I do say I highly recommend their regenerist line.

Ironically, I'm ordering makeup and cleanser from Bare Minerals tomorrow.  I started wearing their makeup a couple of years ago and find it to be absolutely amazing at covering imperfections, especially my rosacea.  The first time I saw my face without its typical deep pink flush, I was shocked.  It's amazing.

At any rate, tomorrow I have plans.  It's been awhile since I've had a birthday with PLANS.  My daughter and I are going to see the Lone Ranger and buy her a swimsuit so we can start swimming at the Y this week.  I have a ton of free offers companies have sent me for my birthday, so we may stop in for ice cream or an italian ice after the movie, or go to breakfast at IHOP or Denny's before.  My family has plans to take me out for seafood tomorrow night and I'm thrilled.  One of my favorite restaurants with great food.  If it were cooler outside I'd want to be somewhere on the beach, but it's going to be hot, so it doesn't matter and so I can go to my favorite restaurant, because it's nowhere near the water.

I have a ton of goals for this next year, for all aspects of my life.  More exercise and healthier eating.  More time spent with my daughter.  Getting back into the workforce.  Continue to heal and gain energy.  One of the reasons I'm writing this blog is to start to slow down and focus on each day, one at a time, instead of huge amounts of time at once.  And hopefully I'll be successful.

Three minutes until my birthday!  Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, July 4, 2013



When I think of the last 24 hours, that's the first word that comes to mind.  The first full thought that comes to mind is "Gawd, I did not know a body could make a smell like that."

Yep.  I've been sick.  And what a delightful way to share it with the world!

One of my biggest worries going back to work is that I'm going to get sick.  A lot.  I have several chronic illnesses, including fibromyalgia and diabetes, and I tend to catch everything anyway.  For whatever reason, I particularly have a lot of stomach issues and have for the last ten years or so.  I probably will end up going to a gastroenterologist.  I had diagnosed myself with irritable bowel, which can accompany fibromyalgia, but my doctor suggested it might be the medications I was on, so he switched those around.  Voila!  I was magically better nearly overnight.  Until another doctor put me on a new medication which made me sick to my stomach again.  And just as that began to adjust, kaboom!

I don't know what I did to deserve this.

I got so angry and frustrated yesterday when I got sick.  I had planned to take my daughter to buy a swimsuit and possibly out for a treat.  I had also planned to pick up one of my medications.  Instead I ended up doing nothing.  I fell asleep early and woke to an angry teenager wanting clarification on consequences I had given.  That was at nearly eleven p.m., and I was up until almost four a.m.

So today I treated my stomach with some medicine, took a short nap, finally ate something, and am praying I keep it down.  Hopefully that will be the case, and I might even recover in time for fireworks.

One can always hope, anyway.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Post Four—Introversion

So sometimes I crack myself up.  This time is more of an eye roller type crackup.  I had intended to write every day and already I think it's been like a week since I wrote.  I've THOUGHT about writing lots of times but just haven't.  Too bad thinking doesn't count as doing.

So I was reading something today about introverts that was interesting.  Basically it said that introverts enjoy large periods of time alone.  Sometimes large periods of unstructured time, doing whatever they choose, even if it's nothing.  The author was saying that this kind of time where other people would consider it nothing is something to her.  The reason this hit me so strongly is that over the last three years, since I've been living with my parents again, my mother is convinced I'm "hiding" in my room.  I'll be the first to admit that there have been times—more than I can count or care to even admit to—that I have been depressed and wanted to stay in bed.  But there are also a lot of times that I am just spending unstructured alone time.  Because that's my favorite kind of time to spend.  I prefer to mess around on my laptop and watch reruns of crime dramas.  My mom had me convinced that meant I was a loser who had dropped out of life.  Heh, turns out I'm just an introvert.

The fact I'm an introvert should be no surprise.  On the Meyers-Briggs, I have always tested as being introverted.  I hate large gatherings where I know few people; I've always preferred smaller get togethers with people that I know well.  I have a few close friends that I love dearly, although I have grown in my ability to keep contact with folks I have known for awhile and do enjoy hearing about them.  I do some extroverted activities in teaching—working with and lecturing to college students and adult teachers is NOT an easy task when your idea of a fun time is...well, messing on the laptop and watching crime dramas!  But the important difference, the author pointed out, is we take extroversion on our own terms.  I'm extroverted when I've chosen to be—when I choose to offer a class to parents, or I choose to teach a course in my field.  The majority of my experiences are not ones that I enjoy extroversion.

Holiday parties are such a mix of desires for me.  I want so much to be invited, to attend, to be the belle of the ball.  At the same time, when I attend a party I absolutely freeze up.  I can't think of a thing to say.  I feel as though it's the most awkward situation possible.  When I was younger and had roommates, we would occasionally host a party.  Alcohol made it easier to feel less awkward.  Still, I would prefer the company of a small intimate group of friends.  During my first year of teaching public school, I developed a group exactly like this.  We would go out every Friday afternoon for drinks and occasionally dinner.  I grew to love these people tremendously.  They helped me through a difficult teaching year and were a wonderful support system.

Even now, I go to the movies with one person, go to dinner with one or two people, spend the majority of my time with my family.  Sometimes I do wonder if it means there's something wrong with me.  I guess if it made me unhappy the answer might be yes.  But since it doesn't seem to, I think it makes the answer that I'm an introvert...and enjoy it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Starting Over

It's always interesting to go back and read what I've written in past blogs or journals.  Sometimes your memory plays tricks on you and your perspective has shifted.  This is the case with this blog.  I'd only written two entries and if truth be told, I would have deleted everything before I read it and just started over.  However, once I started reading I was glad I didn't do that.  Ironically, a lot of my goals are similar to what they were in January.  Improving myself, body, mind, and soul.  Lessening the shame I feel for falling short of my goals.

Lately I've been feeling a need to write down what is happening in my life each day.  I don't know why that is, but it is.  Today—Thursday—just sucked.  I haven't been able to sleep at night very well.  Last night it was close to four before I fell asleep.  I woke around 11:30, and knew immediately I needed to get up and start getting ready.  I was supposed to go to my mom's office and help her, then go to an interview.  As I was lying there considering these things, I fell back asleep and woke to my dad telling me my mom was on her way to get me.

From this point on, I'm going to call my mom Nora.  No particular reason other than anonymity.  Nora has high expectations of everyone around her.  Despite the fact that I have been chronically ill for over three years, the expectation is still very high for me.  I think Nora has a hard time accepting the fact that I may never heal completely from fibromyalgia.  In fact, most patients grow continually worse over time.  I feel blessed that I am able most days to walk my dog, cook dinner, spend time with my children, etc.  But Nora is convinced that I isolate myself and need to spend more family time together.  She also thinks I sleep too much (fatigue and sleep disorders are part of fibromyalgia) and that I need to find a job.  Since I was having so much trouble finding a job I could keep with my symptoms, Nora decided I should work for HER on Thursday afternoons.  Three hours on Thursdays, and let me tell you, it's NOT something I look forward to.  I love my mother with my whole heart and I believe she thinks she is doing what is best for me.  However, she and I disagree quite a bit on what is best for me.

At any rate, I ended up taking Nora back to her office and coming home to shower and prepare for my interview.  Except there ended up not being one.  The genius who had asked me to interview ended up never sending me an address, despite my emails back asking for one.  So what's a girl to do?

I slept.

Now this is where Nora (and probably most people) do not understand me.  I do not LIKE to sleep this much.  I don't lie on my bed and go, "Thank you God for the extra time to sleep today!"  No.  I go, "What could I do to fight off this drowsiness?"  It's a constant battle and when I cave in, I feel like fibromyalgia is beating me.  It's an incredibly frustrating, angry feeling.  I finally woke up, forced myself to shower, and eventually went to pick up Nora, who wasn't in the greatest mood herself.  I don't know if Nora was just tired or irritated with me or what.  I have the kind of personality that I tend to blame myself if things are not going right, and so Nora's mood automatically fell into the category of "My Failures Today".  The ironic bit is Nora could have been tired, or she could have been mad at me, or she could have had a sesame seed in her teeth.  I just blame myself.

We got home and after a few minutes of checking on my daughter and everything that was going on, I decided to check my email, and I got a true shock.  Plain as day, there was an email sitting there from an old friend.  From Marvin.

I guess I should explain how I know Marvin.  Last summer I was having an extremely rough time with a new job and problems with my son Lance.  I put an ad out looking for a friend and Marvin answered it.  We hit it off well and enjoyed chatting online.  I was a homebody but Marvin liked going out, and he invited me out frequently.  We eventually fell into a pattern of going to lunch together once a week or so for several weeks.  Over time though, I noticed fewer and fewer emails from him until eventually he just disappeared altogether.  That was painful.  Shortly afterward I quit my job, as I was insanely sick.  Two months later, Lance was hospitalized for psychiatric illness.  It was a difficult summer/fall.

So here's this new email from Marvin, reintroducing himself (like I would have forgotten) and apologizing for dropping off the face of the earth.  Asking me to text him if I can or care to.  And he's included a picture of himself—the same picture he sent in the very first email he sent me.

Yes, I remember you.  You really think I would forget?  If it weren't for lunch with him I probably would have quit that job a lot earlier.  That may or may not have been a good thing.

And yes, I want to contact him again.  I know the saying—trick me once, shame on you, trick me twice, shame on me.  So I don't know if I'm inviting trouble or not.  I know at the time he was having a lot going on with an ex-wife and his children.  And as a mom of two kids who have special needs, I totally get the "kids come first" thing.  Mine always have and always will.  So at some point I'll text him and see what's up.  I always liked him.  He was a nice guy....before he vanished, anyway.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Getting Started

So I've been thinking a lot about the changes I want to make as well as the ones I've started.  Obviously with any change you need goals.  I think my major goals at this point are the following:  to continue to improve my relationships with the people I love, especially my children; to build healthy habits through a combination of diet, exercise, and stress reduction; to continue to learn more about myself; to gain meaningful employment; and to make care of myself a priority.

What have I done so far?  Well, first and foremost I've started walking more.  Today I was able to walk at a pretty good clip for about ten minutes.  Considering a year ago I could hardly walk the dog, I'm so excited that my body is working better.  Not only was I able to walk at a good speed, I chose to go on a walk because I WANTED to.  I wanted some fresh air and to spend some time with the dog, and I did. Very proud of myself, indeed.  In addition, I've started to make some changes in how I shop for groceries, and the meals I plan as well.  I bought organic produce this week.  I read labels and tried to seriously limit foods with a lot of processed ingredients.  I went to buy a diet fruit drink and when I saw the mile long list of ingredients, I put it back.  In my mind, as of now, it's pretty much chemical water.

This isn't to say that my cart was filled only with fresh, wholesome food.  Nor was it only filled with crap.  The things I wanted, I bought, but hopefully made more educated, informed decisions.  For example, I bought a carton of ice cream.  After considering my options, I went with Breyer's all natural vanilla.  It's an oldie but goodie in my book, but most of all, the ingredient list was this:  milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla.  I recognize sugar is not ideal, but I managed to avoid a whole bunch of preservatives and additives that I would have otherwise eaten.

So far things are going well.  I've started leaving food on my plate when I'm satisfied.  I'm trying to eat more fruits and veggies, which then leaves me less likely to be hungry later.  Apples, berries, bananas and mandarin oranges have all been hits this week.  Tonight dinner will be salmon, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.  Not only is it full of my favorites, it's 100% unprocessed.  I'm loving the opportunity to spoil myself a bit with healthier foods that I love.  Prior to this past week, I would have considered the salmon to be a luxury and probably would have passed on it completely, opting instead for the tilapia I also picked up.  Instead, we're eating salmon this week and tilapia next week.  And I'm very content with that!  I'm considering making another berry run tomorrow.  Yes, instead of visiting the store to pick up candy or a cupcake, I'm contemplating berries.  Yum!

In the words of Dr. Phil, I want to get excited about my life.  I want every day to be an adventure, not just food wise or exercise wise, but in every way.  I want to spend more time doing things with my friends and family, more times contributing to the world in general.  That idea makes me very happy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Beginning

I'm not sure when exactly I lost myself.  I think over time, being a mom and professional, I put my children, family, and job ahead of myself for a long time.  With both of my kids being teens now, I have more time to myself and it's time to focus inward.  I've struggled both physically and emotionally quite a bit in the last five years.  I'm coming to the realization that I need to make some changes in my life in lots of areas.  God has given me one life and I need to experience it more than I am currently.  I can't bank these days—I can't get them back once they're gone.  It suddenly occurred to me the other day that rediscovering who I am—spiritually, emotionally, physically—could be a fun, albeit ambitious—undertaking.  So why not make it an adventure?

I know I'm a good person.  I love my family, have good morals, and am generally nice all around (I think, anyway!).  But I want to get back on track for a healthier me.  I've started therapy to help me handle the emotional side of things and release a lot of the stress I've been under.  Part of the purpose of this blog is to help me stay on track and have a place to clarify my thoughts.  Emotionally, I want to move into a happier place.  I want to feel more emotionally stable.  I want to heal.

Physically, I want to take better care of myself, both in appearance as well as internally.  One of my goals is to get better control of my diabetes.  I really want stable blood sugar levels.  That will help tremendously regarding my energy and overall feeling of health.  Fatigue has been a big problem for me lately and I do believe part of that is due to my blood sugar being elevated.  That, in combination with fibromyalgia and depression, has worn me out quite a bit.

A huge realization for me has been that I have to lose weight if I'm ever going to be able to heal my body to some extent, and to live my life...the life I want to live.  I want to be able to work again.  I want to travel.  I want to experience all that life has to offer, to be cliche!  Fatigue has held me back for quite a while and I'm ready to move forward.

I actually credit all of this sudden awareness to God.  I found myself starting to go to church again in the last two months.  Interestingly enough, the more I've gone the more I feel comforted and enjoy going.  I joined the choir and have gone to two practices so far.  I look forward to it and am starting to feel more connected to God.  That brings about a true peace in my soul.  There is something about the rituals of the church that feels so comforting.  I love my God and know he is holding me through this process.  I want to continue to grow in His light and spread His love through action.  I can't do that when I check out of engaging in my life due to pain, fatigue, or illness.

So onto goals that I want to work on.  Long term goals include:  getting to a healthier weight, better manage my diagnoses, continue to build healthy relationships with my family members and my family unit, and grow my faith.

This week, I want to focus on eating less processed food.  I am going to try to limit my dairy intake as well.  Buying organic when I can, I'm going to look for overall healthier food choices.  Specifically, for this week, I am going to focus on eating real food as much as possible, to walk twice a day (the point being to move), and start reading the book When Christians Get It Wrong.  I am also going to keep a food journal so that I can start figuring out which foods seem to help how I feel.  I am going to leave the house to do SOMETHING every day, even if it's just a short trip somewhere.  I also am going to start Game Night on Thursdays with my daughter, so I know we are spending quality time together at least once a week.

So that's where I'm starting.  I think it will be interesting to find out more about myself!  I want to see what I can do spiritually, emotionally, physically, intellectually.  I want to grow.