Sunday, January 21, 2018

Can We Start Over?

Dec 31, 2017
I still like my 2017 Resolution:

Keep doing what I know I can do, but do it better, and be kind to myself.

In all honesty, I feel like 2017 kicked my butt. Not that it was necessarily a bad year, but it was extremely busy and left me feeling overwhelmed.

I used most of my vacation time for going places. I feel like I should not complain about this because I know I get a good amount of vacation time - more than many people have available to them - and I really am thankful for that. And we did a lot of fun stuff; they were good trips. But this home-body-introvert likes to save a chunk of vacation time for spending quietly at home, doing her own thing, and she did not get it this year. Work seems to get busier and more stressful all the time. I didn't get to start my December vacation as early as I wanted because of the way project deadlines worked out. I was so desperately looking forward to vacation starting, and then it ended up being busy busy...Things that had to get done, but they weren't my things, not the things that I had been counting on doing....

So I had 3 days of rushing around, wishing I was doing different things, then we went home to visit family and I was probably not in the best frame of mind because I was tired and frustrated. We got delayed coming home because of weather. I was almost in tears on the way home, feeling tired and frustrated still/again. Husband said "Sleep in, tomorrow you will feel better."

I thought: "No I won't. That won't solve anything. I slept plenty while we were home."

Ha. He was right. Ssshhh. Don't tell him I said that....

The bed we were sleeping on while visiting home makes my back hurt. Amazing how much better you can feel after a night sleeping comfortably in your own bed.

I still haven't done the things I wanted to do, and at this point I can't even figure out where to start. I have spent the last two days doing not much. Recovering my equilibrium, I guess. Today I am finally feeling like I want to do things...sort of? It's our anniversary. Hey! Happy 16 years! We are going out to dinner. Early this year, so we will be home in our jammies well before midnight, I am sure. Sounds good to me.

I find myself feeling reflective, and thinking about what I want for the coming year.

There was lots of good stuff. There was lots of stress which is not so good. Things have been changing at work over the years, since our happy little company was acquired by a larger entity. We still have jobs; we have better perks now...But the day to day gets harder and harder. I feel like I need to get a better handle on dealing with stress.

Health-wise; I wish I could turn into an energetic, not tired person...But I don't think that is my physical makeup. That said, there have been some extra challenges with my knee being uncooperative, and I also feel like I need to get a better handle on my eating; I am not eating in the way that makes me feel my best and I need to make some changes there...even if it means I drag Husband along, kicking and screaming all the way.

Jan 21, 2018
...So I started writing this post on Dec 31, walked away to gather my thoughts a bit and here it is, weeks later...I'm not sure my thoughts are gathered yet.

Went back to work on Jan 2nd and jumped right back into craziness and my 'almost feeling like myself again' went back to exhausted.

I feel like I have not accomplished much.
  • Still have not made a follow up doctor's appointment about my knee (I did go for x-rays, but need to go back and find out if they showed anything and if there are any next steps).
  • I wanted to at least try to start doing some easy yoga, and get back to some short walking breaks at work, since it does seem like my knee is cooperating at the moment.
  • I still have bunch of things to tackle at home. It's still hard to know where to start
  •  I need to book vacation time and buy a plane ticket for a planned sister vacation this spring.
I don't know....I just feel like I should be doing things but the work week knocks me out and on the weekends I don't want to go anywhere or do much of anything. I suppose this is partly just winter.

So this is kind of a whiny, going nowhere post I guess? Somehow I need to get on the ball, pull up my socks, get my butt in gear and all that jazz.

I started taking B12 a little less that 2 weeks ago. My sister was talking about it, and I looked up the symptoms of B12 deficiency and felt like I was reading about myself. I don't tend to eat much meat, so it is probably something I should to doing. I do think I am feeling a bit better, so we shall see how it goes. When I bought the B12, I happened to see a natural remedy that's supposed to help with stress, so I'm giving that a try. I figure it can't hurt, right?

Thursday night/Friday morning I dreamed about Frank. It's been a while. In my dream, I was not at home, but I had Frank with me. So I was mostly carrying him around and holding him, because I didn't want him to get lost. Frank was always such a satisfying armful of cat. In my dream, I realized that I hadn't seen Frank in a while. I was all confused, trying to figure out why that would be so. Eventually, there was this little voice in my head reminding me: you don't have him anymore. Then I woke up and went and cried in the shower. While it's not weighing down on me the way it was for the first year or so, I do still feel sad when I think of Frank and Zappa, and I have felt it a little more so over the past couple of days.

But it helps to have this snuggly one.

On weekend mornings when I don't have to get up, she likes to come and sleep the extra hour or so with me. I love sleeping in while cuddling a cat.

We had some extremely cold weather for the first part of January. We had some snow. Last weekend it warmed up enough that all the snow was gone and it felt like spring. Isabelle and I enjoyed the interlude.

It snowed again around the middle of last week, it warmed up yesterday and the snow started to melt away a bit. Then colder again today and supposed to snow more starting tomorrow. Mother Nature can't make up her mind.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

All about my knees...

This is making me cranky.
  • Still afraid to exercise. Walking is even iffy, since I never know when my knee is going to go funny.
  • Made a doctor's appointment.
  • Have adjusted my chair and keyboard tray at work so that they are in the lowest position and I am trying to sit with my feet flat on the floor (Am very short. Hate sitting down that low. Feel like a child sitting at the grown-up table).
  • I am a person with a large shoe collection. Surprisingly, I have very few flat, supportive type shoes that are not casual/athletic looking. Went shoe shopping on the weekend, even though I am the last person one would describe as "in need of new shoes." Bought 2 new pairs of Naots that should be okay with dress trousers (as opposed to jeans). Looked around a lot, and tried on a bunch, but Naots have never let me down in the past. I may also have tried on a pair of Fly London heels because I fell in love with them; they did not have the right size in the store; I then hunted them down online and ordered...Stubbornly optimistic about knee recovery.
  • If not exercising, should probably start paying more attention to what I am eating... :(
  •  Am now sleeping with a pillow under my knees because it is the only way I can get comfortable. Already had three pillows on my side of the bed (so I can sit comfortably to read before I sleep) which makes Husband shake his head; this brings the total of JavaChick required pillows to four.

 I am to young for this. Right?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

One Year

Yesterday was one year since we lost Zappa. One year without my Fabulous Felines. Still sad, in all honesty, but at least I am back to myself (or mostly anyway). Trying not to dwell on it, but it has been popping up in my mind whether I want it to or not. I've been missing Zappa hugs lately; he was really good at that.

My knee, which I thought was getting better, is worse again. Probably my own fault for wearing heels the past two days at work, but I am getting bored wearing the same two pairs of shoes...So still afraid to actually work out. I keep meaning to google 'exercises to strengthen muscles around knee.' Suppose I'm getting to the point where I should maybe see a doctor or something. I just hate going and trying to explain what's wrong.

Definitely starting to feel like fall. Starting to cool off, and I've been noticing it smells like fall; when I take Isabelle out in the yard, I can smell the leaves on the ground, and whiffs of evergreen.

Still, there is my brave little rose bush...

And interesting things to see, now that the leaves have fallen from the trees...

And that's about it for the moment. Short one tonight, it's late and I need to take myself off to bed, but somehow I just needed to post this.

This is why I don't blog much these days...By the time I actually manage to sit down at the computer, it's late and I'm tired, and while I have a vague notion of why I wanted to write a post, I can't seem to put it all together.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

This Is Now

Busy, busy summer. Lots of fun stuff, but also some stress and exhaustion. Have been waiting for things to calm down and get back to "normal"...and am now coming to accept the fact that "normal" at the moment does not mean back to the previous status quo. This has thrown me a bit.

....Adjusting...Please Wait....

I adore my new kitty, and would not give her back for anything. But. She is full of energy and mischief. She needs exercise and entertainment. She loves to go outside. She can climb the fence like nobody's business.

Enter the conversations re: "We have to install the cat fence conversion like we should have done in the first place." My wonderful Dad offered to install it for us, all we had to do was get it ordered...And certain persons in this house have been dragging their feet about the whole thing.

I was really counting on having it done this fall, but it has become clear that is not going to happen. Cue JavaChick feeling the urge to spiral into despair.

Basically, the time that I would normally have used to for workouts during the week is being used to supervise Isabelle's yard time. I can't even do anything while out in the yard, because I have to follow her around to make sure she doesn't go over the fence. And I'm so frustrated because I wanted this fixed. I'm mad at myself because I should have kicked up a fuss about it, but that is not my way; I don't like to push.

I found myself thinking: How am I going to manage to keep on like this all winter?

Well...the answer is that I will because I have to.

I can hope that Isabelle will calm down somewhat, that she will not want to go out as much as the weather turns colder, wetter, snowier... Experience with my previous cats tells me that is not likely, but I can hope. :)

So, I think to address the workout situation:
  1. Pull out the shorter circuit training DVDs again, and alternate the uppper/lower workouts so it should only be 15 - 20 minutes. I was really hoping to continue with Pump and Chalean Extreme, but you do what you have to do.
  2. Take advantage of weekends; should be able to get in at least one longer workout on the weekend.
  3. Make sure I take a walking break during my work day (this has disappeared from my daily schedule again).

As for keeping a grip on my sanity...That was always a bit of a dream anyway, right? My husband would probably say it's already long gone.

I really want to start painting again; not sure how that's going to work with a kitten around.

Company this weekend, so will be busy with that...After this though, we should be back to "normal" for a little while.

Where has this year gone?

And P.S. since I never got around to publishing this post:
Hurt my knee again. I think I strained it Thursday last week, stumbling over uneven ground and trying to put holes in sod at a volunteering event. Then was on my feet all day Friday, and there was an incident of banging my knee with a 10 lb barbell plate...It would really help if I would stop banging up my knees. I actually do worry about being healthy as I age; at this rate I won't be able to walk by the time I retire. 

 What to do when your cat won't wear her cone after surgery.

It was amusing while it lasted. :)

Answer to the painting slump...Small paintings that take less time and will hopefully get me going again. Following along in a book for now, but it has only taken one quick painting for me to start coming up with ideas...

Monday, September 4, 2017

End of Vacation Blues

I had a super fabulous vacation running around Nova Scotia with my family for 2 weeks. We didn't get to do everything that we would have liked - amazing how two weeks can fly by - but we had a good mix of sight seeing and time hanging out at home.

There was lots of food and drink, but also lots of walking, some swimming and of course laughing with the family. It was hard to come home.

Things have been really busy since I got home as well - had company the weekend I arrived home, and week of work, and then this weekend 2 dinners + a brunch out with friends and an overnight guest one night. Good times with friends and family, so no complaining, but I could use a little down time.

I had good intentions going back to work last week, but I was missing my family and it was hard to go back to the grind; then I ended up getting sick. So, here's hoping this week goes better.

I had both slow cookers going today. Our fridge and freezer are stocked with easy meals for the week. I am vowing to stay away from those Peek Frean cookies that they've started stocking in the kitchen at work. I will get in my walking breaks at work, and hopefully get a few workouts in this week. Honestly still not feeling 100%, but feeling ready to ease back into things.

Even if I'd rather still be on vacation...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer Fun

I started a post three weeks ago now and didn't finish. It was getting too long and maybe sounding like a bunch of complaining, which is not what I was meaning to do....I think I was feeling tired and overwhelmed. I love summer! But it can be a busy time - this year seems more so than usual. So I will try to sum up...

Is a lovely kitten! She loves to go outside. She loves to sleep on my laptop keyboard, unfortunately, meaning I'm spending less time on my computer these days (maybe not so bad, but sometimes makes it hard to get things done). Also loves to wake me up my licking my face and biting my nose AT 4:30 FREAKING AM. You know, losing Frank and Zappa broke my heart into tiny pieces, and I missed my cats so much...But I gotta admit; the sleeping through the night thing was pretty nice.

Is getting braver! With this newly gained bravery, she is showing herself to be a rather demanding cat. She wants attention. I have no problem with this. I have cat love to share with all my kitties! Unfortunately, she's so persnickety about how she wants this attention to be dispensed; namely, she wants me to sit on the floor in the basement and hang out with her. I can only do so much of that. I am trying to encourage her to hang out with us upstairs, but this leads to her sometimes chasing after Isabelle which is not so good.

Sigh. Crazy cat lady problems.

Busy Busy Summer!
Trips scheduled once a month from June through to September! Most are weekenders, but one longer trip in August when both my sisters are coming home. So happy about this visit, but also apprehensive about being away for 2-ish weeks. I am such a homebody. Also, my vacation time is pretty much all spoken for. I shouldn't complain; I am fortunate in the amount of vacation time I have...But I like knowing I have some extra should I feel the need for a day off here and there. Not having that causes me anxiety. I do have a couple of extra days and I am guarding those for emergencies.

I'm not really a good traveler...By which I mean the getting ready to go and the recovering when I get home. When I'm in the midst of the trip, I'm fine. But the days leading up to going stress me out, and when I get home I go to ground; homebody that I am, I just want to spend a couple of days curled up in my chair, soaking in the fact that I am back in my element.

I want to. I still find myself looking around; at the clouds in the sky, the beautiful blues and greens we see this time of year. I often look out at the view of the harbor from my desk at work and wish I could set myself up to paint right there. But it seems hard to find the time right now.

Healthy Living Goals
  • I somehow got out of the habit of tracking my workouts - I used to always write them down in a notebook - and I want/need to get back to that. 
  • Workouts were getting pretty erratic, and I finally decided I needed to switch things up. That helped, and I was starting to feel like I was back on track, then I got sick last weekend. Feeling better now, but then this morning managed to fall (again!) and bash up my knees (again!) on gravel. Honestly, I am my own worst enemy.
  • Eating, well, good days/bad days as usual. 
  • I kind of feel like I need to make some radical changes. I always let myself put it off because I don't want to inconvenience Husband, but I need to try (again) to find a way to work around that...Or really, get Husband to go along with it; he could benefit just as much as I could.

And summer is almost half over already...Yikes.



View from my desk at work 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spring Cleaning

I know I have been complaining a lot here lately, dumping all my sadness, etc. I kind of feel bad about that! But I feel like it has to go somewhere...

Tuesday was one year since the day we lost Frank. And I still have October 31st coming up, the day we lost Zappa. Those were both very hard days/weeks for me, and while I am doing much better, there are still hard times. I don't feel like I really want to talk to people about it; in some cases because I feel like someone might not understand, in other cases because I don't want to overburden someone. But I do still feel the need to articulate my feelings now and then, and, oddly, I also want to remember it.  It's part of my life, and I know that memories can grow fuzzy and change over time...That is the main reason I keep blogging, I think; I like to be able to look back.

I am finally feeling better; all over that cough, the weather is improving - we've had a sunshine-y weekend which has been fabulous. I was looking at the calendar last night and I could not believe that it has only been two weeks since my over-booked Saturday on May 6th.

We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 week before last, which was a blast. We hardly ever go to the movies these days; we went with friends and had a great time. I had a chat with my manager at work this week that made me feel better about some things; not that anything is likely to change, but at least I know that I am not alone. Planning summer vacation with the family, plus some weekend trips in the summer and fall. It's been busy, but it's been good stuff.

I haven't had much time for painting lately...which may be partly due to the fact that I can't quite settle on what to do next. But I finally filled in the blank space at the bottom of my cloud practice piece from a month ago.

Last Friday, May 12, a little ball of sunshine was delivered to my house by a friend. Meet Isobel.

Seven weeks old, she hit the ground running as soon as she arrived, and she has not stopped since. Interesting times around here, for sure. It was sudden, in that I was not actively looking, but I think she is what I needed. I am simultaneously happy and other words, back to the cat-mom status quo.

At this point, I feel like I should share the fact that Isobel is not the only cat in the house at the moment. Not all that many people know this, but I took in a rescue that had nowhere else to go at the beginning of April. She actually arrived on April 1, and she was not at all happy to be here. It was not really mentioned until she was dropped off that she doesn't like people and she scratches. I can also tell you from experience that she bites.

This is Trixie:

It's been hard to get a good picture because she mostly hangs out in the basement. It has been a long road to get her to trust, but we're getting there. She's not too happy about the new addition, but I'm hoping she'll adjust. It took her about a month to warm up to me, so here's hoping...

Monday is Victoria Day, and I took Friday off work to give myself a 4 day weekend. It has been too long! Having some sunny days off with no obligations does a lot to improve my outlook on life.

I've been trying to get some spring cleaning done. We've been barbecuing and enjoying the sun. Playing with the kitten to tire her out (kittens are adorable, but I'm kind of looking forward to her growing into a lazy, sleepy cat).

 So that is life at the moment. It has been good to finally have a weekend where I have some energy, where I'm feeling rested and relaxed. The next set of problems will come along, no doubt, but for now I'm going to enjoy the rest of my long weekend.