Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here We Go!

Today is the last day of 2013 and I feel as if I am slipping off the top of a slide, just off the safe plateau, and slipping down into a free fall!

Change comes whether we want it to or not, and even though I like the "idea" of change, actually falling into the process of change and working toward goals for 2014 is scaring me... I'm afraid of backsliding, I'm afraid of failing, I'm afraid of the disappointment.

I have come a long way in 2013 and I don't want to lose that ground, but at the same time I want more. It seems that reaching for more involves risking what you've already got! Life is a gamble.

And this year, 2014, I am rolling the dice!

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions-after all, I put pressure on myself all year 'round, what's so special about a resolution? But this year, the hubby and I (he's a fan of resolutions) have been talking a lot about a "year of change." So here's what we're working on this year.....

1) Health

Continuing health improvements of the mental AND physical variety. Contributing to this goal we have a newly acquired pedometer (neatly lashed to my wrist) and a pending diet to begin after the hubby's birthday Jan. 1st (come on, a man needs a fatty steak for his 28th birthday). Personally I am working on writing more and establishing a schedule to compliment my health goals. We also have a pending "Warrior Dash" on the books for July that we need to get in shape for in order to save face and have more fun.

2) Finances

We've been carrying a lot of revolving debt and this year we want to actually shoot down some credit cards and up the savings (like we've talked about and never really gotten around to before). We're also interested in saving up for a down payment on some sort of abode to stabilize our monthly housing costs and create our first permanent home.

In a somewhat direct way this all funnels toward starting a family and getting to a place where we feel healthy enough and financially stable enough to embark upon parenthood. That said, we're still in the planning stages. With my major depression issues of 2012 not so far behind us and a few major bumps in 2013 still shadowing my memory I see a lot of work to be done mothering myself before I leap toward mothering a new little being.

I guess that sums up our resolutions/goals.

It all seems pretty usual when I type it out, I'm sure lots of people share these goals, but it presents a challenge for us and for the first time in a very long time I feel like taking challenges on! And that's worth acknowledging, I do think.

So I'll raise a brew to a better year than the year before and an even better year to come, challenges and all.

Let's do this!

Happy New Year everyone! May it be a year of change and a year of wellness for all :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Joy and New Year's Fear

The hubby, pets and I have been enjoying family visits and holiday travels but have felt the inevitable weariness traveling brings setting in... I have also felt a creeping apprehension about going back home and being alone with the pets all day long again.

Without ornament work to keep me busy it's up to ME to keep me busy and I'm afraid of backsliding. The upcoming months are my traditional "danger zone" and my early warning beacon has begun to chime! January through March are the darkest, dreariest months for me...

Thankfully the hubster and I have been able to talk about my fears and reassure me that all is well and will be well, even if I hit a few bumps-we'll make it through. This year I am embarking on January with a firmer footing and more stable mental health, there is no reason I shouldn't be able to keep improving if only little by little-or maybe great bounds!

On a happier note, we have quite enjoyed our family time thus far and will be sad to leave them behind. But until then, we'll make this Christmas joy last a little bit longer!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I Can't Worry About You

I can't worry about you.

I can't worry about you when I have myself to worry about, fret over, and care for.

I can't worry about you when I live my own life.

I can't worry about you when it keeps interrupting my days and my nights.

I can't worry about you when it hurts me so much.

My mind races with concerns, feelings, and extrapolations. Fantasies and frets and "what if?s" that wreak havoc on my peace of mind and tighten my muscles into aching knots.

I can't worry about you. I have to worry about me.

I have to worry about treating myself kindly and taking care of my body, mind, and spirit.

That is important. I am important.

I will worry about me and you can worry about you.


A few nights ago while the hubster and I  were cuddled on the couch with Fio, Millie, and Iroh I had a moment of realization. I was anxious, my shoulders aching, creeping toward my ears as the tension increased in my body as my thoughts raced. I wasn't present. I wasn't enjoying the family moment. What should have been relaxing time at home became an arena for worthless fretting.

I looked around the room and scoffed. All the people and things I worried over weren't there. The brother, sister, mothers, fathers, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends, and strangers occupying my thoughts were no where to be seen. I came to realize that I worry and fret over people that are barely present in my life. Their major presence is in my mind. My jurisdiction, but it's out of control.

So much time and energy is wasted rehashing past events and worrying about future possibilities. Not only wasted but detracted from positive use. I have so many better things to do than worry about people I see every couple months or once a year! But as it stands now, I use half my waking hours fretting.

Well, I'm sick of it.

Sure, I don't want to hurt people's feelings and I want to be well liked and I want to nurture positive relationships and build supportive networks in my life, but fretting and driving myself into the ground will not achieve this.

I can't control what other people think, how they feel, or how they react and I certainly can't change anything simply by worrying about it. I've logged countless hours as a worrier, and I know it will not be an easy task dismantling my mind's bad habits but that is one of my goals from here on out.

I can't worry about you (family, friends, strangers), I have to worry about me.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

An Achievement

Yesterday involved feeling bad. Feeling pretty bad.

Finances.

I hate finances. I don't even know if I would like them if we had no debt and enough money!

Even though we were hashing through some uncomfortable, sad stuff reviewing the state our financial state and even though I got pretty low and felt pretty bad, I didn't sink as low as I would've a few months ago.

Okay, I felt pretty ashamed and disgusted with our debt load and slashing my wrists did cross my mind once, but only once and only very briefly. I shooed the darkness out my mind's door and went on wallowing in a more healthy fashion :)

And so I am deeming last night an achievement. No, I couldn't get through a financial conversation without freaking out, but I did get through a financial conversation without the need for medication and without crying my face off and slumping into a suicidal, sobbing heap! I will take what I can get and hope that next time is just a little better and so on, and so forth.

In other news, ornament personalizing is slowing down and preparations for holiday travel are gearing up. This year we are taking both cats and dog down to my parents'. Yes, I will try to take pictures of the madness as we all cram into the Fiesta!

Still anxious and tense, but feeling like I still have some firm ground and footing to navigate my way out of the "scary." I think I can, I think I can.....


Friday, December 13, 2013

Cookies!

Wednesday was a big baking day and thankfully my sister was able to come up and help me. We had a good time even though we were both exhausted by the end of the day.

Earlier in the week I had shopped for supplies and gathered my recipes. The day involved seven recipes: sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, fudge, almond roca, white chocolate peppermint covered Oreos, Fluffernutter cookies, and triple chocolate mocha cookies.

Preparations began Tuesday night when I mixed up dough for sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies to chill overnight and mashed up mini candy canes.

 I started baking the sugar and gingerbread cookies early Wednesday morning and had the counters cleaned and free of dough remnants by the time my sister showed up to help with the rest of the baking.

It was fun baking together and everything went smoothly. Having come home from college the day before my sister was pretty tired and I was pretty wore out from ornament personalizing but we were both relatively cheery and happy to be baking together.

I don't know quite how many cookies and sweets we ended up with but I do know there are still tons of gingerbread cats here and I already took a bunch in to work! We filled up a care package box for our brother, a family friend, my hubby's best friend, and my uncle with sweets to spare.

The two new recipes, Fluffternutters and mocha cookies, worked out well. I especially enjoyed toasting marshmallows onto the cookies for the Fluffernutters.

A couple of injuries sustained, I burnt my finger doing roca and my sister jarred her pinky finger during frosting somehow but no blood or blisters!

It meant a lot to me to have my sister come up and bake with me and it meant a lot to actually feel like baking for the first time in a long time. I haven't had super cheery Christmases the last few years, and having some of the cheery back feels really good.

Don't let me fool you, I was totally over-stressed and freaking about mailing out care packages and a little overwhelmed with all the masses of cookies but overall no complete breakdowns and good memories...

Hope to continue my happy streak even though my anxiety and shoulder tension is still bothersome. Seem to be sleeping better and taking my thyroid med regularly, but the holiday season has altered my habits and I'm starting to worry about my schedule after the holidays and continuing improvement in my mood without major backsliding.

We shall see :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Deep Freeze

Washington has been uber chilly lately but no snow for us just yet. But let me tell you, I've been scraping my share of iced windshields!

Ornament season has been in full swing with most of my days involving time personalizing. Today is an exception.

Last year was really intense for me during ornament season. I felt like I was the only personalizer and was under a lot of pressure to do EVERYTHING. I had some days that were over 12 hours long! I had some days where I didn't come home at night, I just came home in the morning!

It was not good for me, so this year I've been trying to work with my boss and taper my self-sacrificing work hours a bit. It feels odd for me to say no, and it feels odd for me to have a full day off without ornaments as I do today!

But here I am. Having time to blog some thoughts after sleeping in and sipping some hot coffee (it's Starbucks Christmas Blend, the hubster and I are really into it this year and we NEVER have Starbucks beans in the house, very odd). Today the hubby and I are going to a play down in Seattle and this morning I may get a pedicure or manicure, maybe even read a book for the first time in weeks! A day off. :)

In other news, the hubby and I have been reeling over news from my friend about her marital strife. It's not looking good. I can't believe how clueless I am sometimes! Although I must admit being naive feels so much better than being aware of the agony taking place not so far removed from my own life.

It's sad that we consider ourselves such close friends and yet I seem to know so little of her daily struggles... We've always been stoic, Mrs. Fix-it types. Both of us oldest children in families of five, both of us perfectionists, self-sacrificing, and avid minimizers when it comes to our personal hardships. We're always there for each other but we don't talk often enough, don't share often enough, don't trust often enough. I'm hoping that will improve and I will work toward that goal.

For now though, the hubster and I are trying not to get too involved. It is too stressful and we feel too helpless. All we can do is hope and send good vibes to them and their families while trying to stay neutral and supportive!

In other, other news I've had my first full-blown period since the IUD removal! Quite a change, I will say. Sent me right back to middle school when I was horrified to bleed over my pad and through my pants. Yes. Very emotionally scarring time in my life.... I am now armed with heavy duty tampons and the self-awareness to cope with the heavy flow but wouldn't ya know it, I bled over and made a mess anyway. It's been such a long time since a real period for me I just didn't know when to expect what. Next month I will be prepared!

Starting to realize how much hormonal birth control has affected my life, not just in tapering my flow for so many years but just how much it as altered my natural state!

Anyways, more on menstruation later-time for day-off breakfast with the hubby!

Happy Saturday fellow day-offers!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Recent Dreams

1) A card came into my possession. A folded card with a picture. The picture was of my ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend, their heads bowed over a tiny new baby. The month of May came to mind and somehow I was aware that another couple would have a baby that month as well. I was jealous, I was upset, I felt emotion well up in my throat and tears burn behind my eyes without falling. He never wanted children, I want children, why does he have a baby and not me? Such a childish reaction yet so overpowering. Why does everyone else seem to "oops" their way into parenthood while I patiently wait for the "right" time and try to better myself? I'm the one enforcing this higher standard and yet I resent it, I throw a tantrum and say "I want it NOW!" realizing it's up to me in the first place. Fear of failure haunts me. The long-standing belief that I'm sick, that I'm weak, that I'm incapable plagues my subconscious. I know that I have to believe in myself before I could fully accept such a blessing. I don't want to waste a bit of joy and gratitude on shame or guilt. I'm the only one holding myself back from the life I want....

2) Kate Middleton mounts a raised stage in a small museum. The historical display of jewelry, clothing, and housewares occupy a tall room with long windows in a large square somewhere in vague London. The building is old. Thick paint and heavy wooden molding age the room but shine with thorough upkeep. People cram into the room clogging the doorway and scrambling for cell phone cameras while she speaks into a microphone. Pointing to Diana's wedding dress displayed against the bright window to her right she proclaims, "I will marry him but I want to wear that dress and I want everyone to go to confession." Cameras click and people mutter excitedly, scurrying off to dispatch the news and the demands. London's Catholic churches scramble to accommodate the immense crowds of sinners coming to confession for the first time.

3) I become an immature version of my 18 year-old self at a college nestled in dry ponderosa hills somewhere in the Rockies. There is a party at an apartment on campus. Small rooms packed with students of all ages drinking, some underage and some just old enough. I'm uncomfortable. Shy and overwhelmed. A domineering acquaintance suggests we leave and I obediently follow her outside. We aren't supposed to be there, the cops show up or someone we don't like tries to follow us. Regardless we attempt to avoid our pursuers and take refuge alongside apartment and dorm buildings, darting between shrubs and tiptoeing through garden beds. She leads me into a dorm building, up three flights of outdoor stairs and says, "We can hide here." It is the dorm room of two boys she knows, but doesn't know well. It seems that everyone knows these boys except me. Never knowing them well, but knowing them by reputation or acquaintance. The landing is dark but light shines from under the middle door on the back wall. She knocks on the door and opens it, finding two young men chatting behind the bed, next to a desk. The darker skinned boy turns and exits the room, my female acquaintance following him to the adjacent bedroom. They enter the darkness and shut the door. The remaining boy, a buck-toothed, country looking fellow with full lips and thick blond hair comes out of the room walking up to me in the darkness. "Come on." We go into the bedroom and sit on the floor behind the bed where the two boys had been talking just minutes before. There is an old, medium sized Rubbermaid tub on the bed full of small toys. Different animals with various moving parts. He tries to kiss me and I turn away, shifting to sit on my knees and playing with the toys. He follows suit. "I love this one, the mother lion." He pushes the figure across the bottom of the tub, small wheels causing her lower jaw and front paws to waggle up and down. "You roll her around like this and she eats everything up. Nom nom nom." His hand leaves the lioness and goes to my shoulder. His mouth kissing my shoulder and neck. I shudder and wonder why the hell the girl I left the party with brought us here. Who were these boys and why did everyone else seem to know them?  He keeps kissing my neck, rubbing my back with his hand. I settle back on the floor, sinking my bottom back onto my heels and leaning into the side of the bed. His hand moves to my hip and he turns to face me, still kissing and nuzzling my neck. I am still. Frozen. Confused. My heart starts to race, tinged with fear but driven by curiosity and arousal. I'm not where I'm supposed to be. My mind launches an escape plan but before the impulses reach my legs to propel me out of the room the boy"s kisses reach my lips and I kiss him back. Light pecks deepen into breath-stealing kisses as his arms glide up my waist and draw me closer to him. Tears well in my eyes, not from fear but an overwhelming swelling of emotions. He has done this with many other girls. That is why everyone knows this place. Why the girl that led me here could just walk into the dorm without preamble. This is what he does. And yet I feel unique. I feel special. The nagging titter of my critical brain whispers that I'm being played, that I'm not in control but the heat in my cheeks and flood of attraction overrides the analysis and I allow myself to fall deeper into the boy's arms.


Our Tree

We named him Barney after Barney Fife with the plan of getting a skinny, lanky tree but we ended up with a fuller tree... Barney anyways!