Category Archives: grateful

Gratitude…

Okay, okay, so it’s pretty hokey. I know that, in November, people do the whole… thirty days of thankfulness… gratitude… whatever… I know that ‘science shows’ that if you focus on the positive you end up being more positive.

Once upon a time, I TOTALLY didn’t need any more Mary Sunshine smoke blown up my… posterior. Then my whole world changed. And I lost myself (to a great extent). I’m trying to find that part again that has gone missing.

I started out, in March (I want to vent… I REALLY want to vent. I’ve had it up to right about here with bullshit the last couple days) determinedly writing down three good thing every day. Some days it’s been that I have dogs and coffee. Some days it’s hard to even come up with those. But I keep trying.

June, I started to step up my game. I started to try to come up with 5 good things. Not even, necessarily, gratitude… just five good things. Some days coffee and dogs are still on the list. But I realized something today that I have got to put at the top of my list.

I have started to totally not be able to handle stores. Between people being incredibly rude and people deciding that social distancing and the mask ‘order’ are totally not going to stop them from doing as they please for whatever contrived reason they seem to be able to find I just can’t mentally do it. And now with Ohio’s numbers over double what they were a month ago I can’t do it physically any more either. It’s too much of a risk.

Today, I have decided that cubside pickup, now that I can get a date and time for groceries that isn’t over a week out, is incredibly high on my gratitude list.

Sometimes I have to get creative to get all of the $35 worth of food you have to buy in order to do curbside… but thankfully it is also watermelon season and tomato season and fat free cottage cheese is 0 points and I have tomatoes starting to be on my vines. Today, it would have been nice to have gotten to pick up the order this evening… but it’s all good. We can wait until tomorrow morning for the order. No contact shopping is a God send. That and produce delivery (Misfits Market and Perfectly Imperfect on alternating weeks)… I can cope this way for as long as I have to.

I will still go walking in the early morning when no one is around and at lunch time during my daily touch point conference call (and yes, I will even bleat like the little sheep I am and wear a mask when I walk because I don’t want to take any changes. I don’t want to take changes with Bear’s health. I don’t want to take chances with Squirrels, or Monkey Butt’s or my own health. I’m getting used to 90 degrees and humid while I wear a mask and a buff. I’m kind of over people in general right now and… if people don’t want to accept my choices because they don’t mesh with their choices… then I guess that is something else to be grateful for… knowing who is excepting enough to stay in my circle.

Love and Light
AprilJoy
7/18/2020
OH… and… my keep Squirrel’s head from exploding walk this afternoon means I made my July goal. I am officially a Joyful Wanderer!

Choosing Joy… 99 Walks… Joyful Wanderer… July 4th edition

It’s the 4th of July 2020. I am so over politics. I am so over Covid 19 and its evolving cousins. I’m over the Murder Hornets and the Meth Gators and being scared all the time.

January is the traditional time of “reset”. And in January I decided that my word for 2020 was going to be JOY. And then February happened… then March happened… then April and May and June. I have been fighting so hard to just maintain any vague semblance of sanity and not falling into a pit of depression.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m on year three of my anti-depressants. And there are days when I really want to message my Dr to see if we can’t adjust the dose. It’s not like I have much to be depressed about. Bear on hospice, knowing that the flu probably put him there. Races being cancelled. Fairs and Disney. Movies at the theater being a thing of the past. The world as we know it changing to one where hate and derisiveness are rampant. Realizing just how polarized things really can get. It’s made this Mary Sunshine pretty much a Debbie Downer for a lot of days.

Then I found 99 Walks.

I’m not even sure how I found it on Facebook, to be perfectly honest. It might have been an ad on my feed. I don’t know. I know whatever it was, I saw the shiny thin bracelet that is your reward for making your walking goal every month and I was hooked on the bling. Ask anyone… I have a crap ton of medals hanging in the window of my office at home. Bling is an awesome motivator. And I needed some heavy duty motivation. Three good things every day for months on end wasn’t doing it. Something had to.

So I went and investigated. There is an app for that (go figure). There is a book. There is a central Facebook group. There are spawned off other Facebook groups. Everyone is so incredibly supportive and friendly. It is my respite from the world. It’s not a magic bullet. I still find myself in a pit with nothing to look at but mud walls and worms kind of frequently. But it is helping.

This month the theme is Joyful Wanderer (did I say that yesterday?). I’m taking this month very much to heart. I’m very mindfully walking. I’m stepping up my game. I’m very determined to get my Joyful Wanderer bracelet.

I’m struggling to get back to Choose Joy.

I’m manufacturing ways to try to trick my brain back into some semblance of who I am because I really really miss being me.

Does that make any sense?

So tonight I’m sitting here waiting on French Fries to be finished cooking, nursing a shoulder that has been flairing for about four days now (it usually doesn’t last this long and I’m really not enjoying it). I’m putting my left hand where I need it to be with my right hand so I don’t move the muscles so much in my left shoulder. I’ve been putting Boo Boo Salve on it pretty regularly (it’s awesome stuff… all natural… a friend of my mom’s makes it… https://www.rainbowskytrading.com/) and adding in the Napproxen at night.

Today we went to the zoo again. It’s coming up close to the Asian Lantern Festival and we wanted to see them in the daylight. That, and the Dinosaur experience is open so… yeah.

It was particularly scary to be out and about today. The state isn’t as bad as Florida or Arizona or California right now… but we are double what we were a month ago and it isn’t looking better any time soon. Our county is the second highest number of Covid cases in the state. The mayor of Cleveland made an executive order that everyone has to wear a mask when they are in a public place.

It was good to see, though, that people were actually wearing masks this week at the zoo.

I worked hard today at mindfully spending time with Bear and Squirrel. It was, altogether, a good day. Pictures to treasure. Memories made.

Should we have gone given everything? Probably not. But we were as careful as we could be. Handsitizer. Clorox wipes. Masks and 6 feet apart (even when it pissed people off that I deliberately would not push Bear’s wheelchair past them when it was too close. Bear says he will die sooner if he can never leave the house. I can’t take everything away.

Starting now I will be starting to use curbside pick up.

Am I scared?

Hell yes

But I can do this. I can’t say this is any kind of new normal… but it my current reality and I have to find myself again.

Today was one walk of 2.6 miles pushing the wheelchair and one walk of 1.2 miles. both were mindful and peaceful.

Love and Light

AprilJoy

7/4/2020

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On NOT Living In Fear

A very talented musician and artist died this week.  Glenn Frey died of complications for RA/Crohns/Pneumonia.  When I heard what the cause of death was, I stopped one thought about the fact that… he was like me.  He struggled with … Continue reading

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January

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Good grief, it is already/only half over.  I’m exhausted this year by the sheer weight of January.  It’s been a long few weeks… but it is high time to start getting back to the me I need to be. SO… … Continue reading

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Thankful…

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So, I’m sitting here with WWSW playing Christmas Carols on my computer (IHeart is awesome… it has been a favorite radio station for years… especially this time of year), candles dancing, dog and cat happily chewing on each other.  Thanksgiving … Continue reading

It’s all in the timing…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOkay, There comes a point where I have to remember to shut up and listen. I know I realize this periodically. Life has been reminding me of that quite a bit lately.
This morning, I sat waiting for the lift bridge and for not one but two freighters to go through the Cuyahoga river. I realized that I live in a city replete with lift bridges and drawbridges… and with a river like this there comes the necessity of occasional pauses in the day’s hurry scurry, helter skelter bull…$%^&… There are times where a pause is just a pause and the pause is exactly what is needed. Time enough to watch the smoke stacks of the boats make the bend… to hear the birds and the metal on metal screech whine toot of the trains… to see the bright yellow canary in a bright yellow flower… to take a slow deep breath (or twenty or thirty) and relax. Was I late? Yep. Was it all good? Yep.
It’s funny… I had just gotten off the phone with my mom when I got stuck in traffic. We were talking about being where you need to be… where you are supposed to be… and… thoink… duh…
I was hired at US Steel because Ida Flynn told me that I was GOING to go test for the Internship at US Steel the ONLY semester I could actually qualify the ONLY week I could actually test (given that we went on vacation) in a college career that was end to end in 2 years and 4 months. Yes it is possible. Yes, I regret not doing it slower because my QPA would have been better. I swore I would never work in a big city. I worked in downtown Pittsburgh. I was department lead for the Y2K project with 12 contractors and I had an incredible implementation. It was such a good job that I was “rewarded” with being transferred to the iron range of Norther Minnesota. Which is beautiful and where I saw eagles and heard loons and I watched the northern lights.
I was told when I left US Steel that I would regret it. I don’t. It’s ironic.. .the boats that fascinate the crap out of me now are the ones that left the port of Duluth carrying Ore… the pellets we made that came from the dirt we blew up. I don’t regret it. I miss the northern lights and listening to the lakes freeze in November, but I don’t regret either going to MN or moving from MN. I learned how to be an Oracle DBA in Mt Iron and that backup and recovery are the most important parts of the job.
I left there for Amarillo. SMALL company… friendly town. I was hired as a DBA despite having no REAL DBA experience, because I was trainable. Turns out Trisha was right. I am trainable. I learned to be a good DBA and I learned (in 900 hours in 3 months) to be an Apps DBA. It meant I lived my dream of publishing a book and it laid the groundwork for the next steps. The company was acquired by a huge company in Chicago and I went looking for not Chicago.
Poof… Austin… BAD company to start out with… then Oracle… then another company where I lost myself. Where I learned that I have the ability despite RA to bust a move and walk a half marathon or four. My first I hurt so bad I almost quit yards from the finish line. My second, my son medaled me despite the flu. My third bear and squirrel girl did with me… and I thought I was going to not make it… and I walked in with my son and (even though I still don’t think I’m anything special) I became his hero. And because I understood what forever conditions mean, I was able to cope when my daughter got Epilepsy, when my son got epilepsy and when my son got Sjogrens… and when friends ended up with RA, I was able to be there, to tell them that it is not the end of all normal and to get their butts into the doctors. It took some time for me to get my head around the fact that Autism isn’t the end of normal, it is just a different normal and that sometimes when you get answers to all of the hard questions in your life you can take a deep breath and relax and be your own beautiful self. I’m incredibly proud of my little boy who just took a deep breath and became himself.
And now, here I am. Because I was incredibly frustrated with being told how worthless I was I started looking for elsewhere to be. Because I was scared that the 412 area code on my phone meant that something was wrong with the family I answered the call… and despite not believing that I was in any way qualified I took the chance. Despite getting horribly mixed up in the first phone screen with contact information, I made it through that. Despite feeling like I blew it by not knowing current technology in my first technical screen, I made it through. Despite throwing up all over town my all day interview went remarkably well. And despite being terrified of leaving my baby behind in Texas and moving half way back across the country and not knowing if I would let myself and my family down, here I am. I am in the Cleveland Clinic medical system. I am back near “home”. I have found a house that was waiting for me. I am settling into a job that I really enjoy.
I am where I need to be to help family understand. I am where I need to be to allow my little girl to find her wings and to allow my little boy find his feet and his wings. I’m so very proud of my babies.
Looking back… looking around… looking at everything… I realize that I am right where I am meant to be. everything is working exactly as it should. My job is to breathe… to be kind to myself and to quietly do the needful.
Nameste

I love you mom… I’m listening…

Too Many Friends

Hello!

Now, judging by the title, it seems like this might be a little kvetching.  It’s not. I am a firm believer that you can never have too many friends.  I know I’m “that weird lady” and I gratefully accept the title, but I believe that we are all connected.  We are all the same.  Some have more, some have less, we all have struggles.  We all cry.

I try desperately hard to not let people who are painfully mean (and by painfully, it can get to where their negative energy can physically hurt if you stress too much on it… it’s the stress, not them particularly I think… but hurt is hurt).  And I let them anyway.  Sometimes it is unavoidable… you have to deal with them.  Sometimes I get caught in my Pollyanna ideals and try to help… to change… and it doesn’t work… but I try. It’s also why I don’t “hang out” in many of the RA groups on Facebook.  Debbie Downer isn’t me and it isn’t something I deal well with.  Yes it hurts… BELIEVE me I know it hurts.  But… there are people who find their joy in DWELLING in the hurt… expounding and bitching endlessly about the hurt… I hurt. Some days I hurt an 86.  And The sun is going to come up and I have to get through today.  I can smile (okay, it LOOKS like a smile if you grit your teeth the right way) or I can bitch.  Bitching pisses everyone off and adds to the stress.  Stress sucks.

Too often I find out that my friends for other reasons (people I’ve worked with… friends for other reason on Facebook… complete strangers) are struggling with trying to get a diagnosis for the pain… or have gotten the diagnosis for the pain and are struggling with the new reality.  It weighs on my heart that so many people are finding out that they are now dealing with this reality.

It’s funny.  The day I found out about my diagnosis I sat at my desk at work and cried and cried and cried.  I thought of the hands… the ones I remember from my childhood… the ones that terrified me then and still do now.

Don’t google them and look.  It’s not good.  It’s scary.  I know it is reality still.  I’ve seen them when I’m out and about.  But it doesn’t help to dwell.

I don’t want other people to sit at their desks and cry and cry and cry.  I know they will.  Even if you DESPERATELY want to know why you hurt like there is ground glass in your body and every movement grates it into the nerves… even if you NEED to know so you can start to fight back… still… hearing the words is like getting kicked in the knees.

I’m glad I went through my own steps of dealing with it so I can help.  I can be the go to guy who has lived.  Who has cried hot tears because some times you just have to push through the pain because you have to and that is the only reason you have.  But I can listen.  And I can be that shoulder, real or virtual, who understands…

Too many of my friends are hearing the same words I heard.  And it sucks.  And I hope that, maybe, I can help.

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Labels

The last few days I’ve come to realize that my whole life I’ve been some kind of label. Sometimes at first glance the labels were put there to encourage. Usually they were kind of derogatory in flavor though. I’ve been … Continue reading

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Gratitude

So… today I’ve been thinking… a lot… Yesterday was our first soccer game (Squirrel Girl and I are coaching 3 and 4 year olds with a couple 5 year olds thrown in accidentally) and the kiddos had fun.  They laughed. … Continue reading

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Hit By A Snowball

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I don’t think it was a Kaitlin’s Cauze snowball, but I guess it could have been.  Regardless, this morning I was hit by a snowball, and it was great. I woke up this morning totally not feeling the fact that … Continue reading