Timing…

The one thing more important than location is timing. I find it odd that I keep stumbling across bits of conversation in social media threads that lead me into lines of research I might not otherwise follow. Something about a particular phrase or statement will start me thinking about something in my own experience and then I have to start connecting dots. So I ask more questions and look for answers in more places. I turn 50 this year so I’ve been doing this for a long time. I can research the hell out of something once I get my teeth into it. If I don’t like the first round of results that I come up with, I change my search parameters. And I’ll keep doing that until I feel like I have satisfied the question. Even if I don’t like the answers that I get.

The questions are not always easy. And the answers are not always ones that I understand on an emotional level until I have had time to digest them. I’ve discovered a couple of pretty significant things about myself lately. One through conversations with someone close to me, and the other because I followed one of those rabbit trails on social media. I do not regret following either of those paths. A lot of the questions I had about myself growing up make a lot more sense now. Those were the types of questions that follow you into adulthood. Linger in the back of your mind and cast doubtful shadows over all of your decisions. Sometimes following the rabbit trail…

…leads you into the light.

After Shocks

No, I have not experienced an earthquake. Although that is the natural disaster that scares me most. I got my first Covid vaccine eight days ago. I did not have an actual allergic reaction to the shot but I have been having side effects since the day of.

Let me start by saying that I encourage everyone to get the vaccine if you are able. It makes all of us safer in the long run. My fiance has a peanut allergy and he did have the allergic reaction to the Moderna vaccine. He was advised to not get the second shot but that he can try for the Johnson & Johnson. I am good to go for the second Moderna shot with some pregaming for my allergies.

So, lets talk about side effects. From the beginning I have had a major headache. Almost migraine level with the light sensitivity. I have not been able to wear my glasses or my headset for work. It has felt like I had a long rod ran between my temples. I have had headaches from high blood pressure and sinus pressure/infections and ear infections. None of those have felt like this headache.

The fatigue makes me appreciate my spoons so much more. I napped off and on so much the first day. And the second and the third. The headache was enough to make me tired but there was just so much more fatigue on top of that. Naps are a good thing. Food did seem to help ease the headache briefly for me but only for a short while. Tylenol did not do much more than dull it a bit. I did not want to take too much of it due to stomach issues. And my stomach would get upset sometimes anyway.

Did you know there is a lymph node in your elbow? There is and mine swelled up and got hard. It didn’t last long but it was sore and hurt to bend my arm for a couple days. It was below the injection site and was actually more sore than the injection site except for the on time my fiance hugged me, forgot where it was and put his hands around that part of my arm.

All of these reactions my doctor assured me are normal for what is being reported. This is where my allergies come in. I have a laundry list of allergies along with asthma and dermatographia. The dermatographia is the most likely the culprit here. My doctor figures the shot triggered a hyperactive allergic response. I broke out in hives over the lymph node on my elbow around the fourth or fifth day. Then around day six or seven my feet broke in hives along the lines where the lymph drainage system runs, around the top edges from toes to heel, across the joints at the top of the foot, and even up my ankle. Tiny, itchy red bumps. Hives suck. So I get to double up on antihistamine, add a steroid, and use a steroid cream on the skin.

I’m hoping the second will not be worse than the first. I’ve heard it is but I’m still hoping. And even with all the side effects I still advocate getting the shots. The shot does not make us invincible. Each of us are different. Each person’s body will react different. Take care of yourselves and each other. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance.

Happy Friday

The weekend is here! As soon as I get through the work day… Oh, well. At least I know it’s only a few hours away. And the rain from yesterday appears to be leaving. Hopefully we get plenty of sunshine today. That means the pollen will be back but Spring is almost here. That happens tomorrow. So it is a busy weekend.

If you celebrate the beginning of Spring, Blessed Be. Whatever you plan on this weekend, be safe. Be happy. Have a great day.

It doesn’t feel like September

My apologies for not being here since April. I have been working from home. And, yes, I have been wearing a mask when I have had to go out. I have too many doctor appointments to not wear a mask. Has it gotten any more comfortable? Not really. I don’t have quite as much anxiety when I’m out. But I usually have an asthma attack by the time I get back to my car.

But here we are in September. I have started yet another round of shots in my back for arthritis. There are still little yellow flowers blooming at the edge of the forest I live in. We are still getting tomatoes off our plants on the deck.

TV shows are finding ways to be socially distanced. Football is back and trying to keep players healthy and fans socially distanced. People are still getting sick from Covid-19. And I still don’t feel safe going out anywhere. Especially now that a lot of local stores are getting lax on there precautionary measures. Masks are about the only thing they are still requiring and many people still do not wear them or do not wear them correctly.

The news just makes me sad or angry. I have to limit how much of it I watch or read. It’s easier to just focus on the few shows I enjoy and football now that it is back. And my crochet. But that is another blog all together. Stay safe my friends…

With a little help from my friends

My nerves have been a bit frayed today. For all sorts of reasons that I’ll spare you. Several times today I’ve been tempted to put on my headphones and blast some heavy metal music. Just block out the world. But something always stopped me for one reason or another.

Finally, I reached my limit tonight. I put on my headphones and found myself not with screaming guitars in my ears but a familiar meditation playing. I like Native American music for meditating. Drums and flutes, mostly. It’s either light and airy or deep and earthy. Sometimes with the tinkling sounds of water or the rumble of thunder mixed in.

I let the music play while finished what I was stitching on a crochet project for the day. A new design I’m working on. I drew it out this morning and started on it after breakfast. It’s coming along nicely. But I needed that music tonight.

I haven’t meditated in way too long. I learned how several years ago after the death of my mother. It’s what got me through it. Helped me through a lot of emotional upheavals. Not sure why I hadn’t thought to do it before now. Caught up in all the news broadcasts I guess. That whole “not seeing the forest for the trees” thing.

Just the little bit of time I was plugged into the music seemed to help a bit. It’s important to take time for ourselves and to focus on our mental health. Especially now when the entire world is in an upheaval. There is so much stress over every little thing. Remember to take a deep breath, don’t hold it. Relax your shoulders. Give yourself a hug.

Dark :30

It’s late. Yeah, I know. But I made it. I’m back again. I have completed two projects today. And I did the boring paperwork thing I hate doing. It got done in between the two projects. I made myself do it before I started on the second project to make sure I got it done. That way starting on the project felt more like a reward for getting the paperwork out of the way.

I even got some filing put away. I guess today was about finishing things. Not too bad for a Monday. With the world on lock-down, finding a way to feel like I’m accomplishing something is a good way to put the anxiety on the back burner. Kind of surprising considering how much news I actually watched today. But let’s not talk about that. I already have a headache.

Let’s talk about the cute Fennec fox I crocheted today. He’s adorable and cuddly. I also finished a scarf. I love to crochet. Probably why I’ve been doing it for well over 30 years. I’ll save those stories for my other blog. That to-do list will get tackled tomorrow. But for now, I think I’ve accomplished enough for today. Now for some sleep. Sweet dreams…

Trust Yourself

I woke up from a nightmare this morning. Haven’t had one in a long time, not like this. I woke up falling. I don’t have to give you all the details although I do remember them quite well. The main thing is that a decision was made and suddenly the person in the dream was me and I was falling inside a stairwell.

I woke up before I hit anything or hit bottom. I hate those dreams. For me, they always mean something is out of control. I was driving in an earlier part of the dream and that was definitely me. But I was trying to get away from the area I was in. That lead to the character in the dream being at the top of that stairwell.

I’ve been thinking about making some changes in my life: health, money, housing. It’s not hard to make the connection. I feel like there are things out of my control. Believe me, I am not happy about it. But I think the last part, where the woman at the stairwell made a decision (I remember her being asked what are you gonna do now), is very important. Don’t make rash decisions.

Decide what you want to happen. Research what you need to make that happen. See that list as goals to get your end result. Then come up with a plan that will get you there quickly and smartly. Get help when you need it. Make smart changes where you need to. Trust yourself and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, step back and reevaluate. Most importantly, you have to actually start work on your list of goals. Don’t just sit there looking at. It’s not your Christmas list. You have to put in some work to make those goals happen.

I’ve always said happiness is a choice. You can choose to stay in a stagnant situation and say you’re happy. Or you can choose to make a move to a better situation and do what makes you happy. Trust yourself.

Size Matters

There. I said it. Yes, size matters to us ladies.

I’m not talking about in the bedroom. I’m talking about clothes.

I was looking for dresses online. Went to the site for my local super store first since I knew I would be going there later in the day. Then hit up Pinterest since I do have a sewing machine. It didn’t take long to see the problem.

Even on Pinterest which has a plethora of ideas for any type of dress I could possibly want, size is a problem. I am not a small woman. Short, yes. Skinny, no. I’ve never been skinny, not even as a child. I have curves. I shop the plus size section. The fashion industry is no where close to recognizing how to dress us. They’ve started to see that we exist but they are still not getting it.

I first searched just dresses. Then I got more specific with sundresses. It didn’t help. Either the models are not plus size models. Or the dresses are too tight. Or they go in the opposite direction and have no shape at all. Or worse, they will have shaping and detail but it’s in the wrong place.

From Walmart.com

I’ll give you an example of one the worst offenders: the waist line is too low. Like this one from Wal-Mart in the picture. How does that work, you ask? What most people think is there waist line sits just above their hips. That’s the natural waist line of your body. On more curvy people, we are trying to de-emphasize our hips which are usually the largest part of us. The best way to do this is to move the waist line of the clothing up to draw focus to the bust line and face.

An empire waistline does this perfectly. So does putting the waistline just below where an empire waistline would sit. The difference is that empire sits just under the bust, like right under the bra line. If you put the waist a couple inches below that around the bottom of the rib cage, you get the same effect without having it right up under your boobs.

This creates focus around the bust, drawing attention to the upper part of the body away form hips or stomach. Focus can be on the cleavage, the face, jewelry. Anything you do above that line will keep the focus up. It’s not hard to design stuff with this in mind. Even a simple wrap dress creates a line that pushes the eyes higher.

This is not a new concept. I heard it for 10 seasons of What Not To Wear. Where are Stacey London and Clinton Kelly when we need them?!

It is very frustrating to continue to see models who are only plus size because they are either well over six foot tall or because they are a size 12 or 14. Really?! There are a few truly plus size models now but we are still tremendously under represented. Come on, fashion industry. Take an honest look at who really buys the clothing in the world. Snobby rich people are the only ones who care what goes down the catwalk. The rest of us are shopping at Wal-Mart and Macy’s and Amazon.

New Year, New Goals

I’ve written about resolutions before. I don’t like calling them resolutions. Nobody keeps those. Few people are able to last far enough into a new year to say they kept those pesky New Year’s resolutions. We get all excited at the ball drop or drink too much and have high expectations for what we think we can accomplish. And then we go back to work.

Reality sets in. It’s cold, rainy or snowy, or you get sick right after the holidays. You have to deal with taking down all the decorations on top of it all. You may be worried about paying for Christmas if you maxed out your charge cards. Your stress is climbing if you keep thinking about it. Those resolutions are getting pushed further and further out of your mind.

Stop. Just stop stressing yourself over it. Resolutions are fine but not realistic. We should all have goals. And not just at the beginning of the year but throughout the year. Realistic goals that don’t cause our blood pressure to rise unless it’s with excitement. There are some ways to keep your goals attainable.

Make them something you can achieve so you don’t feel like you’re never going to get there. If buying a Bugatti is 3 years worth of your salary, doing it this year is probably not going to happen. Get real. But if you do need a new car, plan for something that you can afford and will be able to work into your budget this year. Then you can save for the Bugatti later.

More achievability: say you want to save money for a vacation. If this is something you usually struggle with then you need to take an honest look at where your money goes. Buying high priced coffee on the way to work every day? Take-out more days than you cook? More drinking nights out with the buddies than hanging out watching a game on the couch? There are always places you can find where you can cut back on spending. Take a close look at where you money goes. Write down everything you spend and do for a month then go back and look at it. You may be surprised at where the money is. Then you can decide what to start cutting out so you can start planning that sweet little beach trip.

Another trick to keeping goals is to have accountability. Have a partner. Someone who can help you stay on track. If you’re trying to lose weight, have someone to work out with. If you live with someone who can help you, plan meals together and shop together if you can. Cook together and when you sit down to eat, turn off the phones and the TV and talk to each other. A big part of accountability is keeping communication open. If you talk to people about what you’re doing and they talk to you, you’re a lot more likely to keep it up.

Also consider time frames. Is the goal something that needs to be done within a certain amount of time? Are you trying to lose 20 pounds before a reunion or a wedding or some other event? Are you trying to get the garage cleaned out before movers show up to take everything to a new house in a month? Even short term goals should still be planned. Use a calendar or planner and keep it where you can access it quickly and daily to track your progress. Make notes on where you are and what your next steps are. That leads me to my next point…

Write down your goals. Let me say it again. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS! Make a big board with pictures and encouragement. Put twinkle lights around it. Put it where you will see it Every Day! You need the reminders that you have something to work toward. Keep telling yourself that you want this, and that you can make it happen. Make small versions of your sign and put it in several locations: your car, the bathroom, on the fridge, at your desk at work. Put them anywhere you need the reminder of what you are working toward.

Goals are good. We all need them. Professionally, personally, spiritually. Whether it is to learn a new hobby, a skill, trying new recipes, to read more books, or to write more books. We should all have something we want to do. Being stagnant is for ponds. Be a flowing river, ever changing, ever growing.

Is it December Already?

November was National Novel Writing Month. I was helping my local writing group go crazy trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days. For each person. How crazy is that? Pretty normal for us writer types, actually. 

But that means today is December 1st. Time to deck the halls if you haven’t already begun to decorate for Yule or Christmas or whatever you call it. I like to call it Yule but I’m old school like that. You know, before Coke cornered the market with the jolly old dude in the red suit. But let’s not get off track waxing poetic about commercialism. 

The year is almost over. Are you ready for making resolutions to pretend to keep? Or do you prefer to call them goals? How do you plan on keeping them in the coming year? Now would be a good time to start thinking about what you would like to work on and how to implement those changes. Think of them as goals instead of resolutions. Goals are something you can work toward, with progress points along the way, giving yourself high fives and encouragement as you go.

Set a plan. Make it happen. You got this.