The Mixed Bag of My Life

As always days pass in a series of ups and downs.

UP

I finally figured out what I wanted to do as a part-time job. It only took three separate people mentioning it to me! I am working on becoming a notary and then getting my signing license to do real estate closings. Will take a few weeks but I am patient.

DOWN

My hot flashes have returned. I am getting them a few times during the day and one or two at night. They aren’t super bad but it is still depressing.

UP

I started a new writing class. A little something to stretch my brain and get me motivated. The instructor liked my first writing assignment, said it made her laugh!

Directions were: In 300 words or less and using dialog, start with one of 5 phrases provided and add a twist at the end. Here is what I wrote:

“Looking at Paris in this light makes me long for color,” I said aloud. “It is so monochromatic”.

A nearby woman dressed all in black glared at me while she muttered under her breath, “All you Americans are so whiney.”

“Everything is so gray and dark right now”, I muttered back.  “The sky, the drizzle, the Eiffel Tower, umbrellas and raincoats.  There is not a single pop of color anywhere,” I said as I made a sweeping motion with my arm. “Not a circus red umbrella or aspen leaf autumn yellow rain boot or unicorn pink trench coat in sight.”

The woman huffed at me and crossed the street.

I looked at the gray sky again. Tarnished tea set gray? Downy owl gray? I am so depressed gray? Silver lining gray? Silver lining gray. That sounded nice. I had to admit to myself that really this weather was timed perfectly. Color would be back in my life soon enough, I just needed to get through this gray stretch.

I walked into my office and took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “I will be so happy when we are done with this latest batch of paint colors,” I told my boss as I stared at the wall of gray paint samples that still needed names.

DOWN

I have become quite proficient at being out of touch with the world right now and maybe a little too good at taking things one day at a time. I happened to glance at the calendar and holy crap Batman Thanksgiving is next week! I didn’t notice the time of year since temps are back into the 90’s again. (Not helping the hot flashes!) So I went to the commissary Tuesday night to get a turkey and all the non-perishable foods for the big feast. And really that is all that was on my list so I skipped some aisles. But as I walked past the end of the paper products row I was shocked to see that it was nearly empty.

Apparently I missed the start of the panic buying. Why are people panic buying here? I talked to a Doc from the VA hospital last weekend and he said Tucson and Arizona are doing okay. Will this year ever end?

UP

I am giving myself an early Christmas present this year…3 nights and two days up at Mount Lemmon in early December. By myself. Pure peace and quiet. Cold enough to wear sweaters. Long hikes amongst trees. Christmas movies and popcorn.

It will be like sleeping in a tree house!

Looking over the past week or so I certainly feel like I have had more ups then downs so it is all good.

Wishing you more ups than downs this week!

The Great Toilet Paper Caper

April 7, 2020

This week has sucked. Not because of COVID-19 but because of the full moon. My hot flashes have been ferocious and the insomnia insane. As usual my first thought is that this will be the last month of suffering. The hot flashes are doing one last push and then my body will succumb gracefully into aging. This is an insane thought and at 1:00a I am googling away re-learning that it is highly likely that I will have to deal with hot flashes for nine to ten years total which means perhaps six more years. I can’t bear the thought.

I find myself wondering why my hot flashes seem worse right now. The weather hasn’t turned abysmally hot yet. And then it hits me, stress. While on the surface I don’t think I am freaking out over our current pandemic there are thready undercurrents flowing beneath.

Mostly I am unhappy because so much is unknown. I can’t visualize the future. The lack of control has me stressed. Problem identified. Now what to do about it?

I come up with two plans. I still have almost 90 days worth of a low-dose anti-depressant shown to help some women with hot flashes. I only took it a few days because it made me very nauseous. I decide to try again, this time eating a few crackers when I take it and going a whole week (at least) to see if my body adapts.

And the second plan? Our stores are pretty well stocked. I have enough allergy meds and such that I am not worried about running out. The only item I am worried about is toilet paper. Back in mid-March I bought our usual 12 pack right before the insanity started. Before I knew anything was really going on, just my normal purchase. And when the toilet paper disappeared from shelves I wasn’t worried. I thought that by the time I needed to buy more the world would be back to normal.

But it is almost a month later and I haven’t seen a roll of toilet paper on the shelves in the last three weeks. Now, I am not the type of person who wants to start going from store to store on a tp hunt. My observation is if you find toilet paper (or paper towels etc) it is pure luck. You just happen to be in the store when they bring out a batch. I find myself wondering if I am willing to chance it and simply wait and hope the stores are re-supplied by the time we are down to our last roll or two.

It seems risky. I mean the shelves are empty all across the country. We have no idea if or when a total lockdown may start. What if my spouse brings the virus home from work and we have to self-quarantine for two weeks? I can picture life without toilet paper and it isn’t pretty. Is there anything I can do about this? Maybe.

I read an article on-line about the toilet paper shortage and they recommend checking restaurant supply stores. Hmmm. Makes sense. Restaurants are probably buying less toilet paper with no inside dining. So I go on-line to a place in Tennessee. It says toilet paper is in-stock. I can buy a case of 96 rolls. I try and visualize 96 rolls of toilet paper and my imagination fails me. Where would we store it all?

Most of me says just buy it before it disappears but a small section of my mind says let’s just think about this for a minute. And I do. And 96 rolls wins out over zero rolls easily. I can share, I can donate, I can store it in the empty suitcases in the garage. (It’s not like we are going anywhere this summer!) I place the order, and then I wait.

I get the confirmation e-mail but 24 hours later I still don’t have a processing or shipping e-mail. Uh-oh. I check the website, standard toilet paper is no longer in-stock. Was I too late?

I tell myself to be patient and give it a few days, they were probably inundated with orders. And so I wait.

April 13, 2020

First the good news. I am able to take the anti-depressant with a few crackers and it seems to be working. My hot flashes are fewer and much, much less intense. But this being the post full moon period of the month the hot flashes are usually on the wane anyway. The real test will be the first week of May right before the full moon. But at least I have hope.

As for the toilet paper? I never did receive another e-mail as to status but I did figure out how to check the order status on-line through their website. The first time I checked it said it was on back order until 5/31. I decide I can live with this. I really want a stash for later in the year when/if a second wave hits. At the end of the week I check the status again and now it says nothing. I contact the company to make sure they didn’t cancel the order. They haven’t but now they are thinking 8 to 10 weeks before they get re-supplied. I am going to remain optimistic on the toilet paper front. What else can I do?

For now I am sticking to my normal routine as much as possible. I do my yoga, shower, meditate. I fast between 4:00p and 10:00a most days, or at least close to that window. I try and keep busy but I also try and cut myself some slack. I have promised myself that if I get to a point where I really don’t want to do anything I can have 24 hours off. The most important thing for me to remember is to just take things one day at a time.

Stay Safe!

And So it Goes

We are at the end of our second full week of being home. If I had to pick one word I would pick miserable. How can staying home make one so unhappy? Part of the problem is the time of the month, or more accurately the phase of the moon. In another week the moon will be on the wane and my coping skills returning. But in the meantime…

Home schooling is a nightmare. Screen time has been a battle for years and now to have to deal with my son being on the computer ALL DAY? Just shoot me now. The first day I set him up at the dining room table. He strategically chose a seat where I couldn’t easily see the screen. He put his headphones on. I assumed he was goofing off some but at the end of the week when I checked google classroom he had done nothing except History. And you know why he did History? Because one day I sat at the table with him to finish our taxes so he knew he needed to do real work. Apparently he spent most of the week researching a new gaming mouse and mousepad and watching youtube videos (and not the one’s from his math teacher).

So for week two I had him sitting in a different chair, banished the headphones and we went over google classroom before and after school each day. I sat at the table with him for at least part of each day and made sure I frequently checked his screen. I hated it. He hated it. I just want him to be responsible, show some integrity and give a shit about his own future. He’s only 12 so I am not sure if I am allowed to just let him fail or do I have to wait until he is older and has a better grasp of the consequences?

I am taking an on-line class on the science of well-being taught at Yale. (Auditing so it is free.) My son and I both took a test showing us our 24 strengths, from greatest to weakest. My number one: honesty. His number twenty-four: honesty. I think I see the problem. What I don’t see is how week three is going to unfold. Moving on…

I watched Collection 6 of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. Not my favorite, too many weird challenges and way too much crying. And what was up with all the handshakes? Once Dave and Jon left I found myself wondering why I was still watching.

Frustrated with my lack of Census work. I was supposed to be done mid-April. I am afraid that by the time we resume it will be screaming hot. Please, just go on-line and do the darn thing!

Why am I the only person in the house who can refill the water pitcher?

Every day I get up around the same time, do my yoga, shower and get dressed. I have a small whiteboard where I list my tasks for the day. On Friday (today) I walked down to the ATM to get money and then ducked in the grocery store for some fresh produce. A little over two miles roundtrip. I came home and paid bills and mopped the kitchen floor. At 3:00p I found myself wondering if I could go back to bed. Well of course I could, but should I? It was tempting. But I have decided to try and hold out until dark (say 7:00p). I’ll finish this post, work on a needlepoint project or color. Watch something maybe.

I miss baseball.

Take care and stay safe!

Catch Up

I feel like I have left some parts of my life un-updated of late. So, just in case you were wondering:

I had my last post-surgery check-up seven weeks after my hysterectomy. The doctor had predicted four to six weeks for the internal healing to complete. So she was a little surprised (but not alarmed) that my internal stitches had not dissolved yet. No big deal, everything looked fine, I just needed to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for two more weeks. To be honest I felt perfectly well and wasn’t sure I had still been avoiding heavy lifting! But, everything is good.

I have opted to hold off on hormone replacement therapy for now. While I am 100% positive the hysterectomy was the right choice, now I am not sure I need HRT. No hot flashes, sleeping well and the hormonal roller coaster has been reduced to the kiddie version. Not sure if that is the St. John’s Wort or just my body changing on it’s own. So for now I just wait and see what happens.

I am making progress with weight loss, yeah! I am down to 140 pounds. The intermittent fasting works. I don’t have a hard and fast routine but take it day by day. Most days I only eat one or two meals. I wait until I am really hungry and don’t worry about what time it is. I have found that ignoring the first hunger pangs and drinking some water or tea is pretty easy and effective.

I think the other key to success is I try and eat what I really want. The cravings have ended. And surprisingly I don’t want junk food so much. I often eat salads or omelettes or a simple meal (say grilled pork chop, baked yam and veg). I don’t worry about carbs or sugar but I do try and eat whole, real food. And when I do want something sweet I keep homemade brownies and cookies in the freezer. I am hoping to lose about two more pounds but I am not stressing over it, I trust it will happen in time.

I mentioned I was working for the Census Bureau here. And I mentioned how hot it was. And then it got humid. And I found myself walking 15k steps one morning in triple digit heat. And the next day? Not so much. So I had to quit. I felt bad but I was not the first to quit that week because of the weather. They were sorry to lose me and said I was one of their better workers.

What I did learn was that I rather enjoyed working part-time and I am currently pursuing some other options.

I think that covers all the big stuff! Have a great week!

Recovery: 3 Weeks Later

It has been three weeks since my surgery and I am doing well.

Frankenstein abs When I first saw my abdomen after surgery I knew exactly what Frankenstein’s abs looked like! I had four small incisions surrounded by bruising. I have been watching the colors turn and endured a tiny bit of itching. They were glued on the outside and I am to let the glue come off by itself.

Swelly Belly I knew to expect a swollen belly after surgery and I was expecting to look like I was four months pregnant. In reality I just looked a little bloated. What I did not have a clue about was the compression garment I woke up in after surgery. No one said a word about it and for some reason I didn’t ask any questions. (Now I am scratching my head over that.) When I got dressed to go home I took it off and left it there. It had some blood on it from the incisions and I just left it with my gown.

After about 10 days I wondered how long the swelling lasted and in the course of my internet reading realized I was probably supposed to keep wearing the compression wrap. I was having backaches and feeling a little uncomfortable and wondered if a compression wrap would help. I bought one on Amazon for ~$16 and started wearing it and it really helped.

Sleeping I was shocked at how much I slept the first few days, an afternoon nap and then through the night as well. And then my sleeping went a little haywire. Some nights I would sleep ten hours, others I would be awake at 4:00a and think I was done, only to fall back asleep at 6:00a and not wake up until 9:00a!

Not doing too much I have to admit I never felt any pain. When I got home on Friday I felt fine and found myself reaching for something on the top shelf before I realized that might not be the best idea. Being tired helped keep my from overdoing things and I made a concentrated effort for the first three days to “Be still and heal”. But on Monday I couldn’t handle the mess in the kitchen anymore and started cleaning. I tried to take it easy and not do any heavy lifting but on Tuesday I found myself hauling laundry around and hanging clothes up and that night felt like maybe it was a mistake. I had a little bleeding in the hospital but it had ended by the time I left. Now I had my first very light pinkish-brown discharge. I had a little of this every day for the next two weeks.

I had been focusing on my external incisions (which were healing fine) but hadn’t given any thought to my internal healing. With that in mind I dialed it back a notch.

A color by number picture which I quite enjoyed doing while listening to the Cubs win.

Guilt over watching tv I had DVR’d some shows specifically to watch during my recovery but since I didn’t feel bad it was weird just sitting and watching tv at first. But I got over it. I learned to do a little cleaning and then take a break and then do some more. I tried very hard to listen to my body in regards to the fatigue. I had to keep reminding myself that I needed time to heal and that I didn’t want to be one of those people. You know, the one’s who resume normal life right away and then end up in bed for a month. Not me.

Pain meds I had Vicodin and ultra-mega strength prescription Ibuprofen. I took one Vicodin the first day I was home to help me sleep. Actually to help me stay asleep. And I took a second one towards the end of the first week at bedtime when my back was bothering me. I never took any of the ibuprofen.

Two weeks after surgery I resumed driving and tackled all those back to school errands. My incisions are starting to look like they are healing, no pain and my minimal discharge has stopped. On the downside I am still exhausted. The weather isn’t helping, triple digit heat and humidity are still hanging around. Some places get rain, but not at my house.

Post operative doctor visit (18 days after surgery) Everything looks good according to my doctor. I asked about the fatigue and was told it is quite normal. It takes the body time to recover from the anesthesia (hardest blog word to spell ever 😕!) and the trauma of surgery. Even though my brain missed the whole thing my body went through a lot. So I’ll be watching a little more tv for awhile longer.

I got to take home actual pictures of my uterus which is both weird and cool. You could definitely see the lumps of polyp and fibroids which looked huge to me! And she showed me where she cauterized the endometriosis. Everything was benign and she peeked at my gallbladder, appendix and liver which all looked good. Ovaries are good too.

I go back to the doctor right after Labor Day for a final check-up. For now I continue to sleep more and not lift anything too heavy. She did say I could get in the pool or take a bath after one more week so I have that post-surgical milestone to look forward to next.

Now that it is all done I am happy to report that a hysterectomy was the right choice for me. No regrets.

Not that I am trying to jump the gun but school starts next week which always makes my thoughts turn to Fall!

Post Surgery Post

I’m back and in pretty good shape. Mostly I have been tired but not in any pain following my hysterectomy. Where to start? At the beginning is always best.

My spouse dropped me off at 5:30a. I had studied the map and knew where to go, down the hallway to the right. I walked into the lobby of the Women’s Center and whoa, it was HUGE. I panicked a bit and asked the security guard the way to the women’s surgical center: down the hallway on the right, just as I thought, I just couldn’t see it.

And then I turned into the hallway and Holy Stephen King it was my nightmare come true. A mile long, crazy wide and completely deserted. I started taking slow, deliberate steps on rubbery legs and there was the sign for the surgical center and I turned in, to find a nice normal sized waiting room with people in it! Whew.

Looks like virga to me. (When rain doesn’t hit the ground.)

I had to wait a bit to check in (two people ahead of me) and then I went to the prep room and got changed and pee’d in a cup and had blood drawn and got my IV set up. My Doctor popped in and then the anesthesiologist. Everything moved pretty quickly.

The anesthesiologist told me his three goals: 1) keep me asleep, 2) keep me unaware and 3) keep me pain free. I added 4) keep me alive (seems that should have been first but apparently it is a given in a hospital). He said something about 10 or 15 seconds and then I would be out. He wasn’t kidding. I was wheeled into the OR, got a glimpse of one wall, didn’t see a single person and the next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery.

I have to confess I still feel a bit creeped out about all kinds of things happening to me and having no awareness what so ever. I know that was the goal, but still. I won’t make another Stephen King reference, but yeah, that is what I was thinking.

In recovery I was asked if I felt nauseous, a little, and poof it was gone. I felt cold and was covered with another warm blanket. And I had to pee. I was told this was normal and I remembered I had a catheter in. Took a few minutes but I was finally able to relax and “let go”. I didn’t feel groggy or any pain, rather relaxed really. I had to wait 30 to 45 minutes for a room to be ready and then “transport” (a person to push my bed) to arrive.

Terrible exposure with most of my pictures, too much sun despite the virga.

And off I went to the women’s unit. I felt really lucky to be kept in the smaller women’s unit, maybe 10 or 12 rooms? And very quiet, separate from the main hospital.

Three and half hours later I was up and walking around. I had an IV with low dose pain meds (Percocet I think) and a button I could push if I needed more. I never did. No pain at all, just a bit of cramping (I’ve had way worse menstrual cramps) and once I started walking around that went away.

The funniest moment was after my first walk the nurse explained how to order dinner. At this point I am back in bed and I am looking at the remote that calls the nurse and operates the tv and light as she explains the number to dial. Um, no numbers on this thing. As she is leaving the room I say “how do I order dinner again?” She looks at me, obviously a bit concerned as I have been pretty lucid up to this point. “You dial…” and then realizes I can’t see the phone which is behind the bed on the far side of the door, an area I hadn’t seen yet. We both laughed with relief, happy nothing had gone awry with my brain.

I had dinner (cucumber slices, fruit cup and chicken salad with a brownie I ate later), played UNO with my spouse and son and then walked around some more. I felt pretty good and they unhooked the IV with the pain meds because my poor kidney’s were working overtime with all the extra fluid. And I didn’t have to put the oxygen back on. I had taken it off to eat and then “forgot” to put it back on. But without the pain meds I didn’t need it.

Visitors left and I watched “The Birdman of Alcatraz” which was just starting on TCM. The biggest side effect I had was a crazy dry mouth. I had been drinking water all afternoon but it wasn’t helping. I had my husband bring me some mints and decaf tea and by the end of the movie my mouth felt much better.

I tried to sleep for two hours but it wasn’t happening. I wasn’t in pain or cramping but felt stiff and uncomfortable. The catheter was bothering me a bit too. I got up and walked around, told the night shift I was conducting a surprise inspection, making sure they hadn’t snuck off to the gym. After 30 minutes I felt a little better and of course I was pretty tired. I talked to the nurse and she said she could remove the catheter. Better. Then at 12:45a a guy showed up to draw blood. What? At 1:30a the med tech came in take my vitals. Seriously? If I had been asleep I would have not been happy.

After that I did fall asleep and woke up at 5:00a. I used the bathroom and then had an ultrasound of my bladder to make sure I was “voiding properly”. I was. My doctor stopped by at 7:30a impressed with how well I was doing. She had been checking my chart from home and couldn’t believe I was sitting up playing cards the evening before. Those nurses documented everything! And by 9:00a I was ready to go, breakfasted, showered, passed “pee protocol” and signed discharge paperwork.

Since I have been home I haven’t had any pain, cramping or bleeding. I did have a terrible stiff neck the first day but a heating pad helped. The only thing is how tired I have been. I have had an afternoon nap and slept through the night everyday since I have been home. I did note that both my pre and post op blood work showed I was anemic so I wonder if that is a contributing factor?

I had my doubts about having a hysterectomy but it was the right choice. In addition to the polyp and fibroids evidence of endometriosis and adhesions were found.

Well this is a crazy long post so I’ll end here. Pictures are from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Hoping to do a Photo Friday post, we’ll see.

“Better Than Before”

For Christmas I got Gretchen Ruben’s book “Better Than Before”. I was hoping it would help me with two habits: writing and eating (actually more like not eating).

I started strong with the writing and floundered with the eating. Six months later I am floundering with the writing and doing well with the eating. Kind of a surprise I must confess.

Today we will talk about my eating habits. Being a woman, ahem, of a certain age my weight was on the rise. Over the last few years I have read all about various eating schemes and how your body handles fat, sugar, carbohydrates, whole foods etc. One thing I read that has really stuck in my head is how we all think it is normal to gain weight as we age. But that is a relatively recent phenomenon. It used to be that as your metabolism slowed your appetite adjusted. But we have wrecked our regulating mechanism with vast quantities of sugar and processed foods.

I had fallen into the habit of eating all the time. A cookie here, a piece of dark chocolate there, a handful of almonds while cooking dinner. My meals were fairly healthy for the most part but my snacking was out of control. I knew snacking was what I was doing wrong, I just didn’t know how to stop it.

I sat down and had a think about my eating and decided my solution had to meet two criteria: it had to be easy and it had to make sense to me. From Ruben’s book I learned that I am a questioner. Things have to be logical for me. (And I thought I was an obliger until I took the test in the back, so take the test!)

Ruben went low carb (in the book at least) like magic. She read a book and poof she started eating low carb with no effort. (Am I the only one who read that and wanted to shove her face first into a donut?) I tried low carb but it didn’t make sense to me that apples and carrots were “bad” foods. And the minute I deny myself something I immediately start to crave it.

In the course of reading about low carb I stumbled on to Intermittent Fasting. Hmm. 1. It was easy enough. You just don’t eat for x number of hours each day. Doesn’t cost anything, you don’t have to track anything or look up values of foods. No issues with eating out and wondering what is legal for whatever your current scheme is. 2. It makes sense. You give your body a break from digesting foods and allow it access to your fat stores. Way back when people fasted all the time because they couldn’t find food. And fasting periods (and feasting periods) are something all the major religions have in common. Interesting.

I decided to give it a try. I started with 12 and 12 and worked my way up to 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of feasting. Turns out it wasn’t hard at all. The first few weeks I focused on the fasting hours. Whenever I ate last in the day I would wait sixteen hours until I ate again. I remained flexible with the times but eventually settled into last eating between 5:00p and 6:00p, sometimes earlier. I think eating earlier helps reduce the night sweats.

About a month into it I had lost 3 or 4 pounds. (I didn’t think to weigh myself that first day!) For me the most important part was how I felt. Literally with no effort my eating habits settled down. I am no longer craving or thinking about food all the time.

I typically eat two meals and somedays a snack or treat. But if I feel hungry I eat three meals. I eat whatever I want. I thought for sure I would binge on junk food but an odd thing happened, for the most part the urge for junk food has dissipated. I eat salads and apples with peanut butter and grilled salmon. Yes, I still eat a cookie or a brownie, but no more than one a day and they are homemade (individually wrapped and stowed in the freezer in the garage). And after I eat it I don’t desire more, I am satisfied.

I don’t wake up starving and often eat in a smaller window, many days I eat at 10:00a and 3:00p. But I don’t force it, I just let it happen naturally.

I am a little bummed I haven’t lost more weight but I am patient. I am now on week seven and have no problems sticking to a 6 hour eating window. Cravings are gone and really the best part is no longer thinking about food so much. I don’t snack anymore. I take it day by day and ask myself what I want to eat when I am hungry and then eat it. I am more mindful and focused when I eat and then I don’t think about food again until I am truly hungry.

The moral of the story is not that Intermittent Fasting works, but that it works for me. Each individual needs to keep trying different things until they find what works for them. So keep trying and good luck.

I’ll be taking a blogging break most of July. An unplugged vacation and then my surgery are on the agenda. Hope you enjoy this slice of summer!

I love how nice and cool this picture makes me feel.

Flash Fiction: Paint

This week’s flash fiction prompt from Carrot Ranch was to write a story that involved paint.

This is what I wrote first:

I know it is hormones and heat causing my apathy but it is still scary.  
Scary to sit and not be able to think of a single thing one wants to do.  
Scary not knowing when one is going to get one’s self back again. 
 
Frustrating to desperately need sleep,  
going to bed knowing you aren’t going to get it. 
Frustrating knowing for a fact that one is going to be awakened
at least three times with bursts of heat.

Satisfying to look at the blank page of the sketchbook
and add a slash of color. 
Mindlessly?
Or
Mindfully?

This is not fiction. This is therapy. So often I find myself using the writing prompt to express my current mental state. This isn’t a bad thing but not my goal. So I tried a second time.

“Dream House”

She felt like Myrna Loy in “Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House” as she recited paint colors to the contractor. 

“I am still figuring out my office”, she confessed.  It felt terribly important to get the color exactly right in the room she would spend the most time in.  

Since she couldn’t even narrow down a color family she was going by name now. She wanted something literary like ‘Writer’s Retreat’ or ‘Chapter and Verse’. 

She flipped through the paint chips and read ‘All Your Dreams’. The palest of pinks, more of a rosy cream.  Her future in paint.

I thought this was better but still has too much me in it. I’ll continue to work on that when I get back. I will miss the next two or three weeks as I will be on vacation and then having surgery.

P.S. I don’t know if those are real paint color names, I made them up. If I had more words I would have had the kitchen painted ‘Buttercup Yellow’, the hall bath ‘Tidal Blue’ and the master “Glacier Gray’. Turns out I like making up paint names. And I have a spot to use that skill in my novel!!

In the meantime enjoy your summer and have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

May Madness: Meditation

Last August (I think, I don’t really keep track) I started meditating. In the beginning I used the Insight App all the time. It helped me remember to do it and establish the habit. I set up the timer, sometimes changing the background sounds. Sometimes I follow a guided meditation and have some favorites bookmarked. I also do walking meditation on the treadmill which I really like and should do more often. (Note to self, remember this!)

Now I still use the app often but I don’t worry if I skip a day or meditate ‘au natural’. No not naked, I meant by just sitting quietly and focusing on my breathing.

The big question is, does it do anything for me? I think it does. While I am actually doing the meditation it just feels like hard work to quiet my mind over and over again. Some days are more successful than others. At the very least it gives me a pause before jumping into the to-do list for the day.

But over time I have noticed I seem to be able to control that initial negative reaction to certain situations better. I am able to take a breath, think, and then respond. Very helpful during the absence of estrogen. Crazy helpful with parenting.

Today is the first day of summer vacation. Unfortunately I woke up only ten minutes later than normal. But then I decided this might be a good thing. I did my yoga stretches and then sat and meditated in the quiet morning. It was lovely to be able to just sit and not worry about the clock. I listened to the birds outside the window (what were they talking about?). I breathed in kindness towards myself and breathed out peace towards the world. Hopefully I will embrace the day gracefully, no matter what the universe sends my way!

Til tomorrow…

May Madness: Motivation

For me the scariest symptom of menopause has been apathy. The days when I have no motivation to do anything. Not even fun things, or things I would normally enjoy. The worst days are when I tell myself to ignore the chores and errands and just do something I really want to do and can’t think of a thing. Not even something simple like watching a movie holds any appeal.

I tell myself to just sit, stare out the window but after 30 seconds I feel guilty and like I am insane. I have too much to do to sit and stare out a window. Life is short, I can’t waste these hours, days, months to menopausal angst!

For two weeks I was feeling really good despite terrible insomnia. I was motivated and actually happy about getting some cleaning done. I worked in my sketchbook, watched “Poirot” and didn’t mind making dinner. I was the calm, patient, kind, loving mother. I took breaks when I needed to (because I was tired from the lack of sleep) but emotionally I was happy. Life was good.

And now I am starting to sleep better but apparently my estrogen has again plummeted. The first sign was when I cried when Kris Bryant hit three homeruns in one game for the Cubs. Sure they were happy tears but not something I would normally cry over. And then there was the response to my son turning his nose up at the quiche I made. “Fine. Don’t eat it. I am never making dinner again.” (And no this was not said calmly.) And I knew I was back on the bottom of the menopause rollercoaster.

The last two days I have looked at my overly ambitious to-do list (made when I was feeling motivated) and just shook my head. I’l slog through the next two or three weeks somehow and hope for a few good weeks in June.

Today I will just be sad that I don’t feel like setting up my new day planner. I love doing this, apparently just not today.

Til tomorrow…