Chasing Inspiration

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

In Which We Say Buh Bye Pity Party

Gratitudes:

  1. The rain brought with it cooler, less humid weather. This week is supposed to be cooler than the last few. I'm glad. Fibro and heat/humidity don't mix.
  2. I figured out what was draining the battery on my phone! Thank goodness it was an app I don't use so deleting it was not a difficult decision.
  3. Inspiration. I'm writing again. In fits and starts, but I'm writing. I never realize how much I love it until I take a long break.
It's cloudy and grey out and I'm not complaining! If it were winter, I would be crawling the walls due to weeks upon weeks of grey, cold weather. In the summer, a break from the heat is more than welcome. The temperature dropped with the rain and the dog and I have spent our day tromping in and out of the house. He looks at me like I'm nuts, but once he's outside, he loves running in the wet grass. And barking at the squirrels that take up residence in the walnut trees. 

I don't like to complain a lot, but I hurt. I have lived in a constant state of flare - recovery - flare for the last month and a half and I'm tired of it. Even now I am climbing out of a flare. Everything takes longer. Some basic things I should be able to accomplish I just can't. Last week I was thrilled that I could even read a book! So I overdid things and read three books. Romantic fiction. All delightful in their own way. The husband asked me if I needed glasses. This could be part of the problem. So I have booked an appointment for next month to get my eyes checked. And I have booked an appointment for him, as well. He hasn't had his eyes checked since he got glasses seven years ago. Who does that? My husband, that's who.

I'm in pain. My brain is fogged over. I think I missed paying a bill last month. I feel like I'm lazy, but I know I'm not. I'm trying to do the best I can within the limits my health creates. Oh, and I found out that if I don't have an autoimmune disease, I have all the markers for one. Great. Just what I need. One. More. Thing. I guess that taking a few months off to heal and recover before getting back to the workforce is off the table. 

/pity party

Instead of focusing on all that is wrong, I am trying to be mindful and focus on the here and now. And to celebrate what I can do. Yesterday I couldn't have done the library if my life depended on it. Today I was able to get two loads done. YES! Last week I wasn't able to take the dog for walks every day. This week we are two for two. FIST BUMP! This weekend I was unable to run errands by myself due to vertigo. Today I got gas and dropped some items off at the post office. By myself. TOUCHDOWN DANCE! 

I may not be where I was a few years ago, or even last year since things appear to have gotten worse. But I'm alive and I have a dog and a husband who love me, a house that is relatively easy to manage, and friends who make me smile. All in all, when I think about things, I have a good life. So shove over, pity party, there's a new sheriff in town! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Trumpets and Vines

 Gratitudes:

  1. Sweet summer corn grilled over charcoal. Yum! 
  2. For all that's wrong with it, health care coverage. Without our coverage I wouldn't be able to afford some of the meds I take to manage my fibro.
  3. Morning glories. Yes, they may edge into weed territory and without hardcore management they will take over every damn thing, but they are beautiful trumpets of happiness and I love them. 
Every April I promise myself I'm going to get serious about planting a garden. I dream of vegetables, berries, and a riot of flowers that bloom from late spring until the first killing frost. And then life happens and I'm lucky if I get a planter or hanging basket going for the deck. We have been those people with the boring yard - a few trees that were planted long before we took over, and lawn.

This changed a few years ago when a neighbour gallantly offered to hang dried out morning glory vines on our fugly chain link fence. We share a fence line and I have always loved the colorful flowers on that fence so we took him up on his offer. The first couple of years, our front yard looked like we had let some weed get a little out of control. There were few if any blooms and the vines grew in patches. We have diligently spread the seeds along the fence every spring and this year we have so many vinces that the middle two thirds of the fence are covered and we have had to add trellises for the vine to climb up on.

I sit on my deck or at my dining room table and I sip cold brewed iced tea and smile. Why? Because my front yard is no longer ordinary. It has a wall that is a riot of color. Butterflies and birds are drawn to the verdant green foliage and brilliantly spiked flowers. My yard feels special thanks to an aggressively jealous vine that wants to creep into my lawn and claim all surfaces for it's own. I almost want to let it.  

I have high hopes that within a couple of years, the front fence will be covered with these beautiful trumpets of happiness.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

In Which I am Thankful for Dancing With the Stars

 Gratitudes:

  1. My Ninja blender. It makes morning smoothies so much easier to make. And the food processor attachment makes my life so much easier.
  2. Caribou Coffee's crafted press. It's cold press coffee blended with cream and sweetener (or none if you don't want). I add vanilla and yum!
  3. Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) season 20. We've only watched season 19 and 20, and the talent has been awesome. Even Mountain Man has gotten into the show. 
It's been a bit of a surprise to me that Mountain Man and I can agree that a dance show is awesome. I can't get him interested in So You Think You Can Dance but the moment he learned Sadie Robertson from Duck Dynasty fame was going to be Dancing With the Stars (DWTS) last season, he willingly jumped down the dance rabbit hole. Only for DWTS mind you. I think it has something to do with the mix of 'stars' and professional dancers. And the judges. Something about the judges resonate with him. 

DWTS has it's season finale tonight and I'm worried. I love Noah Galloway and his story. I swear I cry every time I see him dance. It's beautiful and touches me deeply. That said, as much as I want him to win the mirror ball, he's not the best dancer. That would be Rumer Willis, in my opinion. I want her to win. Ryker Lynch is steep competition, and Noah may be the fan favorite due to his story. And that freestyle. Damn!

No matter who takes home the mirror ball, this is has been an amazing season. And I think Mountian Man and I will continue to watch future seasons. Now, if I could convince Mountain Man he needs to take a ballroom dance class with me...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ruminations

 Gratitudes:

  1. My husband has discovered Better Off Ted on Netflix. This was such a good show. It always makes me laugh.
  2. Coldstone Creamery. Amazing ice cream. Enough said.
  3. Knitting. It's full of mindfulness and productivity.
Life is full of twists and turns and forks in the road. Each decision we make, each choice means we choose to leave certain paths behind as we propel ourselves along. Eventually, these choices catch up to us. The path not taken may rear up and shower us with consequences. Some of these may be painful, even devastating. Perhaps there will be a do over. Perhaps there will be loss. Perhaps we will have avoided something truly awful. Either way, we are forever changed by our choices as we walk through the twists and turns of life.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Knitting and Pie

 Gratitudes:

  1. Good friends, good pie, knitting, and cock jokes. No, not THOSE cocks! Get your minds out of the gutter.
  2. After making a concerted effort to get up earlier in an attempt to actually be tired enough to sleep through the night, I actually averaged a solid eight hours a night this past week.
  3. Shiloh Walker because her books rock my world! Thank you so much for Busted. Please, please, please tell me that Travis and Seb have books coming....
I have started a new knitting project. Hopefully this one will take much less time than my previous one. It's forcing me to try new stitches. I'm not bitter about that at all. 

On the surface this looks really easy and really fast. I'm doing a test with some leftover yarn I have from a lap blanket I made for J.R. Ward when I first met her at Lora Leigh's Reader Appreciation Weekend in...2008? Yes, that was it, 2008. It was my first knitting project and OMG, it took forever. But it was a good first project and turned out really well. I hope J.R. enjoyed it.

S6300611
My Warden Lap Blanket

Since then I've made a lot of small items for family and friends. Nothing for myself. I really want this cowl. It looks so cool. And then I want to make it for my friend's daughters. Because I keep talking about knitting them something and then I procrastinate and never do. Maybe this will be the year of knitting. Don't get your hopes up.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Well, Hello There!

 Gratitudes:

  1. Velcro Dog has transitioned well to walks once a day instead two or even three times a day. It's a sign he's getting old (8-1/2!) but it's much easier for me to manage that single walk. 
  2. I'm on a tight budget for books and music so I'm very thankful our library system has a superb selection of both in physical and electronic formats. 
  3. Rain. 
Despite my putting my blog on my to-do list, it's been some time since I've spent time here. Time to dust off the cobwebs, I guess. 

Life has been slow days of pain management, reading, cleaning, walking and playing with Velcro Dog, and wondering if there will be a time when I can rejoin those who work for a living. Sometimes I wonder why I would want to go back to deadlines and stress and leaving my house, and then I remember. Because leaving one's house is a GOOD thing. It means I spend time with people who are not married to or otherwise related to me. Socialization is a good thing.

I spend at least one day a week with a good friend and we sit for hours at a cafĂ© talking life and loves and everything. I love those days. I need more of them. I love my friend. We encourage each other. We amuse each other. And even better, we challenge each other to be our better selves and to reach for things unknown. 

Now that the weather is temperate I spend more time outside with Velcro Dog. He loves the dog parks we visit. I love that he will run and sniff and play while I bring a book or my iPod and relax in the fresh air. Oh, I walk around the park. It's not all sitting on a bench cheerleading from the sidelines. Velcro Dog would never stand for that. We wander and he sniffs while I attempt to bird watch. Or people watch. 

The house is slowly coming along. Mountain Man finished his degree in December so he spends his free time recovering from way too many years of dividing his energies between work, house projects, and school. Some of that recovery time is sitting quietly. I understand. When I finished my graduate degree all I wanted to do was navel gaze for a while. He's slowly coming back to life. I see sparks of the man with a wicked sense of humor and a gentleness that has been missing. We're both in a period of understanding who we are now at this point in time. I'm glad we have each other. 

Life isn't what I expected it to be. I think it's leading to something incredible I could never let myself imagine. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

In Which I am Annoyed

 Gratitudes:

  1. Athletic wear that comes in plus sizes. It's hard to find and can be expensive, but that moment when we robust gals find something that fits, looks fabulous, and feels fabulous, there are no words.
  2. Working WiFi. The last week has been an exercise in getting Comcast and Apple products to play nice together. And when the wifi was down I felt cut off from the world. Oh, internet access, I hope to never take you for granted again.
  3. Post-It notes for no other reason than they make me so very happy. 
Can I bitch for a moment? Wait, it's my blog, I don't need to ask permission to bitch. So stop with the gratitudes if you want to read a happy post.

I have a couple of things I want to complain about. Both are first world problems so part of me feels like I shouldn't even want to complain. However, I have learned that if something is bothering me it is best to not let it fester.

First, it's cold out. Not just cold but freeze your ass of cold. I am not a fan. My body hurts. And that's with me sitting inside with a cup of tea and a dog at my feet. Covered in fleece. Me, not the dog. Mother Nature, I know the poor people in the Northeast are being bombarded with snow and could seriously use a break. I know it's far worse for them right now than it is for me. But could you please keep the Arctic wind chill up where it should be, in the Arctic? Thanks!

Second, Comcast. We only use this cable service for our internet. We don't have cable TV. We don't have a house phone so do not need Voice Over IP, aka VOIP. We have high speed internet. In this day and age anything less is just...wrong. Our provider is Comcast. In December I called because our internet was cutting out intermittently in the late evenings. I rely on our internet connection at night because I often have bouts of insomnia and I need something to do to entertain myself. Netflix can be a girl's best friend. And who says catching up on Facebook at 2am is a bad thing.

The customer service rep (CSR) in India asked all the questions that are asked. Did I check my cable connection? Yes. Did I unplug the modem, wait 20 seconds, and plug it back in? Yes, multiple times. If we have a router, did I cycle it? Yes, again. Well, ma'am, it looks like you have an outdated modem and we will have to send you a new one. Great, Mr. CSR. When I can I expect a service tech to come out? Service tech?  No, ma'am. We will send you a kit and you will install the new modem yourself. We've always had a tech come out. Often there is an issue found that is not the modem itself and I want to make sure everything is in working order. Well, ma'am, the techs are a third party service, not owned (yes, he said owned!) by Comcast. We cannot authorize a visit by a tech just to install a modem. Good day.

The new modem arrived a week later along with a letter indicating that I needed to return the old modem to a service center or we will be charged the cost of the new modem. WTF? Oh, and also, this new modem is super fancy, she said with sarcasm. Comcast's new Xfinity modems come complete with their own routers. Sucktastic routers. AND Comcast now wants each person to allow these WiFi routers to act as Comcast hotspots - no extra charge to you and will not infer with your personal WiFi network. Uh...not!

We had to go online while we were setting up the modem. Which is difficult when you don't have internet service! And have lame phones that don't have data plans. We were able to figure everything out, find the well hidden option to turn off the hotspot service, and hook the modem up with our Airport router. And the internet speed was worse than ever.

Then the Airport died. So off to ye olde Apple Store I went, purchased a new and improved Airport router, came home, plugged the new girl in, and...no wifi. Seriously? Teeth gnashing I called Comcast. Not once. Not twice. Five times. Over the course of a week. We were using the Xfinity built in router - which was crappy - so we could still go online with the tablets and my laptop, but not if we were upstairs, and only if we were wearing the color blue. On my fifth call I was transferred to an Xfinity modem/router specialist who reset the modem and firewalls to the factory specs and then turned off all the router capabilities so it wouldn't interfere with the Airport. Why it had to take this many calls for a solution that finally worked, I have no idea. Comcast, utilize your specialists more! And bring back tech service for replacing modems. I bet this wouldn't have occurred if we had a tech involved in the first place.

Phew, I feel better.