Happy Tuesday!

Yes! It’s Tuesday! I got married on Saturday. I’m still catching up on sleep.

We had a small ceremony with family here at home. A very dear friend officiated. It was very nice. It was a lot of work in the days ahead of the wedding even with all the planning we did. And trust me, I planned. And there was so much food! It was busy but it was a good day. And now I am married to my best friend.

The weekend also marked the end of my first term back in college. I am attending Southern New Hampshire University. I have tried college three or four times. It was always for the wrong reasons. It was to fulfill someone else’s expectations for me, or to prove someone wrong, or I was taking a program someone else would have approved of. This time around is different.

I’m studying creative writing with a focus on poetry. This time is all for me. I’m actually excited for school. It feels weird being in school again at 49 years old. But it feels good this time. I’m not stressing about it like I used to. And the writing is not the only area where I’m feeling creative these days.

I’m finding myself looking at my yarn stash and seeing completed project ideas. Drawings of those ideas are starting to take up residence in my sketch pads. And the more I draw those out, the more the itch to paint again grows. During the cleanup from the wedding I got all of my yarn organized. (I have a lot of yarn!) I also organized my work spaces so that I have an art/writing space that has more room and access to a computer, and a crochet space with a chair and room for my project bag.

It’s been a good couple of months. I even managed to write a couple of poems in all of that chaos. Now that everything is settling down, I hope to get a lot more done in between classwork.

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.

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.

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. 

Rebounding from Fear

TAXES! CANCER! VOLDEMORT! 

There! I said all the scary words.

I realized today that once you put a name on something it can make it bigger, scarier, more recognizable. For a long time I just thought I was having back and hip pain. Now I know I have sciatica and scoliosis. Those are scary words that come with medicine and tests and shots. The words make them more real. Before it was just pain that I could try to ignore and work through and go about my business as best I could.

Now I know that I will have pain if I forget my medicine. I know I will have follow-up appointments to keep in the coming months. There will be other doctors to see.

The point is that we let things grow until they overtake us. But do they really need to? If we are getting on with our bad selves before we know the names, do we really need to stop living our lives once we know those names? I saw a new doctor today who said he was running tests for a lot of things including a brain tumor, of all things. Does he really think I have a brain tumor? No, but he needs to rule it out. Does it scare the hell out of me? Yes, but I’m not going to let it change how I’m living in the week or two while I wait on test results.

To paraphrase my favorite nerd, fear of the name only increases fear of the thing. Learn the names, yes. Do research so you know what it is, yes. But fear it, no. Stand strong in knowledge and get on with your bad self.

Finding Veronica

I’m not sure why I came up with the name Veronica for my muse just now but we’ll roll with it. At least until she shows up and decides if she likes it.

Yep, she’s gone AWOL. I haven’t heard from her in a while. Well, I’m not sure that’s completely accurate. The ideas Veronica and I generate are not missing. It’s more like

women-arguing-2_orig

Veronica and I are not on speaking terms at the moment. I’m not sure which of us is to blame for that. Or if either of us is to blame for it. Blame is an ugly word. Let’s not us that.

Veronica and I are…socially incompatible at the moment.

…that sounds just as weird. *sigh*

This is November. It’s National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. I’m supposed to be letting the words fly from my fingertips and writing fifty thousand words or more in 30 days. This is my second blog. Do Facebook posts count? Granted, there was a death in the family last month but I have had no desire to write. Not like I used to. Historically you would find me with no less than two notepads of various sizes and half a dozen pens in multiple colors. People know me for this so well they often gift me with writing paraphernalia.

At the moment, I might have a pen or two in my purse. My phone has a notepad app on it but I’m not sure I have a piece of paper on me other than a tissue. How does this even happen? I have felt distanced from my writing for a while now. For a long time, the writing was an escape for me. I don’t have as many things I need to escape now. I’m not sure how to channel the same energy into the writing now that the emotional need is different. I’ve tried really hard not to let go of the writing. When I look back at some of the things I’ve done, I really like the work I’ve done and think it would be publishable if I keep at it. But then I don’t do anything with it. I don’t write anything else. Veronica does come knocking. I get more ideas and I do write them down so I don’t lose them. But they don’t grow into anything more. It saddens me to see notes scribbled in a notebook between shopping lists waiting for me to shape them into characters and plot.

Sometimes it feels like I don’t know how to get motivated. Which is absurd when you think about it. As many blogs as I’ve written about how to get your ass in gear over everything else, I should be able to figure this one out. Yet I here I sit with Veronica looking over my shoulder wondering why I’m not working on the idea she gave me. Hopefully she won’t get too mad at me.

Denial

Lately I’ve been studying something new. Well, it’s not totally new. It’s a topic that I’ve flirted with for a long time but I’ve been…wary of. The few instances I’ve had close encounters with it have  been very personal and intense. Those reasons alone have made me block out much of my own talents in regards to this topic. And yes, I am intentionally being vague. It’s something many people view as a pseudoscience. They think it’s bullshit. But once you’ve actually had experiences with it you know that it really does exist.

I’ve had those experiences all of my life. I wasn’t allowed to talk about them as a child and learned to hide them, to not react when they would happen depending which relative I was around. You see, one side of my family believed in it and the other did not. But certain talents run in the family, an inherent skill for this particular topic makes us super sensitive to it. The problem I’ve run into now is that I’ve blocked those skills for so long that I’ve almost forgotten how to use them. Until I came across this class.

shapesI’ve felt for a long time like something was missing, like something just wasn’t quite right. My last couple of jobs haven’t felt like the right match even though I’ve been with them for quite some time. I feel like I’ve been searching for something, as if a part of me has been missing. I had no idea what. Late one night the pieces started to fall in place and the hints all lined up. I got the point. I followed the clues.

They led me to the classes I’ve been studying over the last couple of weeks. Self-paced online classes that I can devour because I’ve finally found what my soul was seeking. I have been very excited over these classes. I even started with the longer one because I knew the one I really wanted might still scare me a little, even though it teaches you how to not be afraid of it. Denying ourselves, denying who we truly are can make us sick. It’s unhealthy to force ourselves into situations that we don’t want to be in. That’s why we end up with stress, anxiety, high blood pressure.

Remember those toys with the different shapes that you have to match the right shape to the correct opening? Yeah…people work that way, too. You have to find the right place or your soul will not fit and you’ll be miserable. You really do have to make your own happiness.