Chasing Inspiration

Monday, February 29, 2016

Office Downsize Project Take Twenty

  1. Tea. It is magical, mystical, and lifts my spirits. 
  2. Ella Henderson. I could put Ghost on repeat. Seriously. 
  3. Friends who offer to help you clean and organize your home office, aka the abyss, and do not judge any of the things you have chosen to hold on to over the years. 
I used to be organized. When we lived in a smaller domicile, organization and cleaning was a cinch. We didn't have much space and we didn't have much stuff. Everything had a place. Even if that place was a box under the bed. 

Berlin Home Office
If only my desk was this clean and streamlined. Sigh.
Now we live in a bigger home. We have more stuff. And over the last few years I put more energy into organizing myself at work than organizing and reorganizing the chaos that occurs during renovations. Our bedroom and the guest room were the only two rooms that were mostly untouched. It's easy to keep the bedroom clean and less cluttered. The guest room has become a place to store those things we don't yet have a home for and should not be stored in the basement. We're slowly working through the stuff.

The one room I have always struggled with is the home office. If you go back on this blog, you will see a few times I have attempted to organize and downsize this space. I feel bad because at work I was uber organized. I didn't have the energy to organize the home office. And in the last few years I have developed a dislike for the space. I have a vision of how this space could be. But it would take money and time and renovations have been the primary goal in the last 10 years. Yes, 10 year. I about died when I realized that. June will make 11. I don't want to talk about it.

Things have gotten worse since I left work. All the personal items I had in my cubicle was dumped in the home office. And I haven't done a thing with it since. 

Initially I really didn't have the energy. Now that I have the energy, I lack the motivation. But I really need to make this space workable. More than workable, I need to make this space mine. Comfortable. Beautiful. Positive. Safe. 

I really want a room in this house that I can lock myself in and be creative, or slightly manic, or melancholy. And be allowed to just be me. We all need a space where we can be ourselves. The self we may not show everyone.  The part of ourselves that is growing and changing and becoming, but hasn't become enough we feel safe showing others. Not yet. 

I don't have that. I haven't had that since I got married. Our first home was so small there was no individual space. This house has the space but...the truth is Hubs has this vision of sharing an office. He doesn't quite understand the need for that singular space we can make our own. He kind of has his workshop. That is his space. It's not a space to work on a computer or a comfortable place to escape to. He escapes to the bedroom when he wants to be in his cave. I let him. I don't intrude. He needs his alone time. He needs his space. So do I. 

This week I'm attacking the office and making it work for me. A friend is coming over to help me. We will purge, rearrange, organize. Well, maybe not completely rearrange because the desk is staying where it is so I can get at the cords behind the computer. Otherwise, it could totally move. But once it's at least purged and organized, I can figure out what I need. What furniture could be made or purchased to make the space more pleasing. What pictures could go up on the walls. Where the water fountain could go. How I can make the space work for all the things I need and the things I want to do in here. 

Sometimes you need help getting a part of your life together. Sometimes it's okay to reach out and ask for it. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Necessary Connections

  1. Velcro Dog's unfailing joy in life. All the mud on my floor is worth the joy in his face after tromping around the thawing backyard.
  2. Pomodoros. They help keep me on track, especially when working on things I would rather send to the pits of doom.
  3. The lovely Coffee Guy at my local café. Thank you for your free refills and your ready smile. It makes my day!
Every Friday I get together with girlfriends for coffee or lunch and chatting. It's so wonderful to be able to get out of the house, away from my inner bitch and be with other people. We talk about everything from the states of our marriages/significant relationships, sex, pop culture, health, religion, and the state of our mental health. No topic is verboten. The only tacit agreement we seem to have is that we are respectful of each other. Which is a good agreement to have, tacit or explicit. 

Coffee Lurve!
Today after slogging through breakfast and physical therapy, I managed to make myself presentable enough to be seen in public. I made my way to our favorite café. It was two of us for coffee today and we discussed the benefit of empire waisted shirts, spring skiing in the Midwest versus Colorado, and the mental health benefits of getting outside in the winter. Nothing earth shattering, but it filled my soul in a way that only being around people who care about you for who you are can give. 

I don't do this often enough. I tend to stick to my cave and snuggle on the bed with the dog until Hubs gets home. He's a homebody so we spend the evening at home. If it weren't for my friends, and the need to give Velcro Dog his daily walk, weeks could go by where I wouldn't leave the house. I don't think this hermit mentality is healthy, so I try to plan things that will get me out and around people. Coffee with a friend. Breakfast with just me and my journal or a book. Window shopping. A museum. A park. 

I spend a lot of time alone. This is both by choice and because health issues have made my world very small. I cancel often. I don't plan too far ahead. I can't guarantee I'll have a good day, or a good hour. I become afraid to reach out to people I haven't seen in awhile because I don't want to appear flaky or non-committal. So I let myself fade into the shadows of relationships. 

Which isn't healthy. It's self-defeating from a mental health standpoint. It makes for a lot of self-doubt, a lot of loneliness. The perfect fodder for dark thoughts and can usher one from melancholy to depression. I'm not depressed, but I'm no stranger to dark thoughts. 

Which is why my Friday friend dates are so important. For a period of time I get to step outside my head and into the sunlight of caring. Joy is infectious and I leave feeling better about myself and my life. I may not be living the life I thought I would be at almost 45 years of age, but I'm living the life in front of me. And that's nothing to be ashamed of. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

When Pain is All There Is

  1. Gluten free gourmet pizza. Yum!
  2. Deadpool the movie. Yes, it's crass and violent and he's an anti-hero. But it's his utter humanity that I find compelling and I loved the movie. 
  3. Medical care and holistic approaches to healing and healthy living.
Spring showers
Grey, it's how I feel today.
There isn't much to report today other than I think the stress of taxes (and my uncharacteristic lack of organization this year) along with poor posture has triggered a migraine. I've done the stretches and trigger points. I've taken the triptans. I've heated and iced. And I am still feeling miserable. And yet, I cannot sink into oblivion because of said taxes, the care and feeding of Velcro Dog, and the fact that I have basic living that requires my attention.

I feel almost as I did back when I was working and my health was shattering around me. Locked into something that has no end, and that I need to fight the pain and health issues so they don't get the best of me.

Fighting is what caused my health issues to finally do just that.

While I can't just give in to the pain, I have to learn to at least make friends with it. To cooperate with it. Some pain is beneficial. It signals that I've spent too much time in one position or doing something that, if continued, will trigger a flare or migraine event. If I listen to the pain in my body, I can do something to ease back, change direction, and circumvent deeper pain.

Sometimes all my coping strategies aren't enough and the pain threatens to overtake me. I want to tense up. I want to wail and curse and sink into the despair that slithers along with the pain. If I do that, I will end up believing there is no hope of respite. That all I will ever know is pain. And longing. And life will pass me by.

So I need to listen to the pain. Acknowledge it. Work through my strategies. Practice self-care.  Call a friend and plan some social time. Go for a slow walk. Remind myself that this too shall pass, even if in the moment it feels like pain is all there is. Because that's a lie. There is more to life, more to me than pain. Even if right now pain seems to rule everything.  

Monday, February 22, 2016

Taxes: If They Don't Bleed You Dry, They May Kill You


  1. Warm, fuzzy robes that I can snuggle in when I'm not feeling my best. 
  2. Instacart. Because sometimes getting groceries myself is too much to handle. 
  3. Professionals who take care of figuring out my taxes.
It's tax season. Every year I proclaim that I will have my shit together by the beginning of February and every year we end up waiting until the end of February to get our information to our accountant because we end up waiting on documentation from third parties. Every. Year. 

This year is no different. Added to my normal tax time anxiety is the fact that last year we cashed in some investments. It was always the plan to cash these in. And it was understood that we may owe taxes due to the cashing in of these investments. That's fine, we have money set aside for just such a situation. 

What is amping up my anxiety is the fact that one one of the 1099s we have from mutual funds we have owned since 2005 is missing vital information. Such as purchase dates and purchase costs. Uh......didn't the brokerage house retain this information? Apparently not. We no longer use this brokerage house, but I have been in regular contact with our previous agent regarding this and some other inconsistencies. I'm not happy. I'm almost sick to my stomach.

So I have to dig through all the year end statements for these investments and attempt to match up the information found there to the information on the 1099. I will be sending ALL this information to our accountant along with my findings. I will also be biting my nails and worrying until she has prepared our information and we submit it to the government. 

I hate taxes. I don't begrudge the government it's fair share of our income. We live here. We enjoy benefits the government pays for or maintains. That comes out of tax money. What I hate are the mysterious tax codes and the changes that occur every year. I hate that if one mistake is made, one honest mistake, our financial history may be called under scrutiny. I have nothing to hide. I just don't like the idea of someone taking that deep a look into my life. 

Taxes. Ugh! 

It's alright, mom. Come snuggle, you'll feel better. 

Velcro Dog is telling me to stop worrying and give him a bone. All we need is food, shelter, and companionship, right? I hate to break his bubble and let him know that part of the reason he has all these things is the same reason we need to prepare and pay taxes; because we make money. A dog needs to retain some of his fantasies after all. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Relationships Are Hard, Man


  1. Health care insurance. I have been recently diagnosed with chronic migraines. I have suspected this for a while but didn't want yet another co-morbid diagnosis. That said, I'm very thankful for our insurance. I can get the meds and the PT I need.
  2. Knitting. If you knit, you understand.
  3. Gluten free ginger cookies. Sometimes tea isn't the same without the ginger cookies.
Heart in child's hand

It's Valentine's Day today. My Facebook feed is full of pictures of wonderful gifts and touching sentiments. And babies. All the precious, perfect babies. 

We don't celebrate Valentine's. Hubs isn't that type of romantic and I've gotten tired of trying to show him in material ways that I love him. Cook him dinner, have some good to great sex and we're good, you know? Of course, this happens all the time since I generally cook dinner and we do enjoy sex. 

In fact, if it hadn't been for a few texts from family and friends, I would have have totally spaced on Valentine's Day at all. So thank you, friends and family, for the reminders. :) 

Relationships are hard. They take work. Give and take. Patience. Compassion. A willingness to know who you are and learn about who your partner is in this moment, instead of living in the past or rushing headlong into the future. Ours has been stretched in the last few years. Renovations alone can destroy a marriage. Add to that work disatisfaction, higher education, health issues, extended family drama, and you have quite the recipe for disaster. 

I won't say we are special, because we aren't. We wake up every day and no matter how angry we may be with the other, we choose in that moment to stay. And in staying, we choose to figure out how to make things work. And whether the expectations we held are worth holding. And that, I think, is the key. As soon as someone stops trying, it's time to ask the really hard questions. One person can pull all the weight for only so long before the self is completely lost. 

I'm not trying to be a downer. I actually feel really positive about what I just wrote. I'm with someone who chooses to get in there and be present in the messiness of our relationship. I'm right there with him. Who carries the most will change from season to season, and we're at a point where once we realize what we're carrying for the other, we talk about it and attempt to work it out, make reparations if necessary, change course if needed. It's hard work. But I wouldn't be anywhere else.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Flowers are a Girl's Best Friend

  1. My husband because he shovels the driveway and never asks me to help.
  2. Chocolate mint rooibos tea. 
  3. Tulips in February.
It was difficult for Hubs to shop for me for Christmas this past year. I didn't want much, and what I wanted was out of our budget. He would have spent the money, but I would have felt bad every time I looked at or used said gift. 

So instead of asking for anything off my someday/maybe list, I asked for a bouquet of flowers once a month for the next twelve months. This month, I got tulips. Beautiful purple tulips. 

February's Christmas flowers

They have lasted about a week, though they haven't opened up completely. I blame this on user error. As in my user error. Perhaps the vase wasn't clean enough. Or perhaps I didn't cut the stems in water to ensure air didn't make it's way up the stems, thus blocking water. Either way, the leaves that weren't in the water yellowed and died and the flowers haven't opened. they are still very pretty and I'm thankful for my man every time I look at them. 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Into Every Winter, A Little Snow Must Fall


  1. Aveda Hand Relief lotion, where have you been all my life? My hands have been in the best shape they have ever been during winter. 
  2. Friends.  Especially the friends who pick up where we left off after I've been in my hole of non-communication.
  3. Velcro Dog's continued insistence that I walk him every day or else he may do more than threaten to eat the furniture. 
It snowed yesterday. Over a foot of light, fluffy snow fell yesterday afternoon through the evening and caused havoc for drivers everywhere. For a few hours, anyway. The roads were all cleared overnight and it was a winter wonderland while I drove Hubs to work and then the dog to the park this morning. We've had so little snow this winter that I was beginning to think we wouldn't see any accumulation at all. 

I didn't take any photos of the snow last night as it was falling, but this is the yard today. The snow is almost pristine and when the moonlight hits it, it's magical. Sorry the picture isn't of the snow at night. My flash washes out the magic. 

Velcro Dog enjoying the snow

Velcro Dog couldn't wait to get out and play in it. I was far less sanguine.  Mostly because snow = cold and I'm not a fan of cold. Or hot. I like it nice and temperate. I continue to think moving to Hawaii may just be the best move for me.