Such a Year is 2016

I’ve been in a reflective mood these past few weeks. This year has been something else and I’ve still been trying to wrap my mind around it. So, in the spirit of introspection, I’ve been trying to figure where I’ve been and where I want to go.

introspection

From a career, or day job, perspective, I worked a major project for most of the last year that went live early this year. The project was very successful and it established me as an expert in my area which, as my father rightly put it, is a double-edged sword. There are days I can hardly do my job for people wanting to tap into my expertise. Not to mention there have been headcount changes and increased responsibilities. I am finally reaching a place where I can feel like I am no longer excessively behind, but it has been stressful. My eagerness to head into work every day has dimmed to an extent.

Also new this year, all of the kids are officially in school as of this August. Which is exciting and terrifying at the same time. It means a different chapter in our lives, but it also means there is more maturity in all the children to an extent. This is my one year where everyone is in the same school before Kidlet One heads to junior high next year. But Kindergarten is a busy time so it requires more time commitment. So this often keeps me on my toes.

At some point, I can only guess it was the stress and exhaustion, I inexplicably gained 20 pounds and experienced fatigue so deep I could barely function.My creative well dried up and the thought of writing anything was just overwhelming. I was in a cesspool of unhappiness.

After a few months, I decided I could no longer live like that. I spent some time outside, taking advantage of our unseasonably warm weather. I started on the ketogenic diet, and after a few starts and stops, I can successfully say I am now losing weight and have loads more energy to get through the day.

And while my creative well is not quite flowing anew, it does contain a few droplets. I figured rambling along on some blog posts with regularity might be just what the inner creative ordered. I have a few things to go about over the next few weeks, and my goal is to get back to writing fiction again with some consistency.

Look for more in the coming days and I am excited to be back!

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When Life Hands You Lemons

Sometimes life sucks. And some things that you might have thought sucked doesn’t really in the end. And sometimes those lemons you were handed are just the extra flavor your dinner needs. There has been so much going on around here, that I’ve felt like I’m sitting tightrope strung between something awesome and the downfall of everything. Part of it I know is the situation at work. I’m trapped in this awkward place where I’ve been seriously stressed out, but I think the ending is going to be a good thing.

However, it does have effects on my body. I’ve had a flare of hip pain that I’ve not had for some time. My sacroiliac joints are defective, as I like to affectionately call it, and once they start hurting, it doesn’t easily turn off because it’s an autoimmune, inflammatory type of thing and once it starts, I just have to wait it out. Severe stress seems to be a trigger, so it wasn’t really a shocker that I had an episode. But it puts me down for the count when it happens and I am mostly useless. My productivity goes down the tubes. But after a week and a half, I seem to be recovering so long as I don’t over do it.

But we have made some progress on some home improvements. My husband is probably the true lead here. I just provide some direction. We went ahead and painted part of the pantry because I wanted to pull everything out anyway. It looks a lot better. Next we will make a few updates to the boy’s room. After that, I suspect we will tackle the master bath and the kitchen. The husband has also been working outside on making things better, which leads into the next area so well.

Spring has sprung and we are all outside more. In fact, I type this from a chair in the front yard. In addition to fixing up what needs to be repaired, my husband has been cleaning up brush and making a spot for a small garden. I think this year will have lettuces, a few cucumbers, a few tomatoes, and some green beans. The kids are excited to be helping and can’t wait to grow some food. I have a feeling my greatest task will be weeding as I’m not the best gardener.

The Future Garden

One of the biggest pluses for this week is the fact that my doctor gave me test results and while it’s not great that my vitamin D level is low, it’s great that I can take the supplement for just a couple of days and feel a huge difference almost immediately. So I feel a lot better in just a couple of days. I’m working on some things with an allergist, but I’m afraid one of the medicines he is giving me is causing headaches and a sore throat. I think a few more days to pinpoint it and I can let him know to see what he advises me to do.

On the reading and writing front, I’ve been reading a few books, most recently finishing Sarah J. Maas’ Heir of Fire. It was really good. I haven’t worked on anything of my own, but I am hoping to remedy that. I need to find the rest of my energy and willpower to get some things done, with writing being a main one. I miss sharing words with my characters.

So there have been ups and downs, but overall I feel optimistic as spring rolls in. Can’t wait to get some things checked off my list!

Life in the Fast Lane

Time flies when you are busy with all kinds of crap! It’s hard to believe that it is summer already and we’re in the middle of the sixth month of the year.

There have been all sorts of things going on around here, from successes to more illness. I am hoping the warm weather and the sunshine put an end to all this nasty germs.

The oldest finished her year of first grade by winning all the awards except attendance. She won the President’s Physical Fitness award, made High Honor Roll for the entire school year, made her Marathon Reader goal, and made her AR reading goals for the entire year. I am so proud of her hard work for all her accomplishments for this year!

Middle child finished her second year of preschool. She goes back for one more year before she begins kindergarten. I sometimes worry that another year of preschool and then kindergarten will bore her to pieces because she is so smart already, but I fear her social skills need the extra time to develop before she enters elementary school. I can only hope I am making the right decision for her. One of my favorite school tales is the time I was almost sent to the principal’s office during first grade because I was so bored I was smearing Elmer’s on my hands and picking it off once it dried. I don’t want my children to suffer that same boredom.

The youngest child begins his first year of preschool in the fall. I am thinking he’ll really enjoy it. He hated having to leave every time his sister was dropped off all last year.

I’ve been battle sinus infections some more. One of those triggered a nice case of iritis. But after spending ALL THE DOLLARS taking everyone to the doctor for tonsillitis and strep, I self-treated with the medication I already had.

However, I got to meet up with my rheumatologist to go over my x-rays. It turns out there is abnormal inflammation on the iliac side of both my sacroiliac joints. So he recommended I get an MRI to determine if the cause was degenerative or inflammatory and if it was inflammatory, he thought I would need to start on a biologic. MRI results came back, but I have not met with the doctor to discuss in person. Best I can tell from my e-chart is that there is some inflammation, but it is not acute. He recommended a different drug than the biologic at this time.

But then I think I’m going to have to see an ENT about my near-constant sinus pain.

Recommendation:  Don’t let issues fester!

I think I am going to attempt Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I am getting a handle on new job and there are far less restrictions on time off than my previous full-time job. I need to get my writing back on track. This is one thing I really want for myself.

The other things I am going to focus on including developing a daily exercising routine and actually doing it, and doing more fun things with the kids. Both are in progress. I think we will like the results.

What fun things do you have planned for the summer?

A Day at a Time

Hello there, you smexy thing. I’m back for another round of blog posting. I’m going to try this new thing were I build my habit by posting every day, even if it’s just a tiny little bit of whatever.

My day started at 2 am when Kidlet Three woke up. It wasn’t all that unexpected seeing as he fell asleep on the way home. I was even pleased when he took one bite of a “hoptart”, drank half a glass of milk, blew out a bunch of snot, and fell back to sleep. I would have happily gone back to sleep too, except our 12 year old Cocker Spaniel/Chow Chow mix thought that I wanted to stay up and proceeded to bark from his kennel for over an hour. So I cleaned out my inbox and deleted a bunch of emails I didn’t need before finally deciding to get up and take a shower.

So now I am caffeinating, because that is the best (and only!) way to start the day. There is a light snow/sleet mix coming down and I need to get ready for work. Yet here I sit at the computer.

My marriage is facing struggles again. Or perhaps I should say that we are back to the same struggle we’ve had. Yesterday it just hit home again. Somehow we got on a path that causes my husband to say that I don’t deserve a break away from the kids or family stuff ever. Unless I want to fork over the dollars for it. I pay a decent wage for my babysitters so that gets expensive fast if I go that route. Meanwhile, all over my real and my online lives, other mothers who have spouses that tell their wives, “Go. Take that break. you deserve it.” And all I can wonder is why I am not worthy. He gets to go do things. Other mothers get to go do things. I NEED that time alone for my sanity and I’m not getting it. I suffer. but I can’t seem to convince him that I would be a much happier, healthier, BETTER wife and mother if I got that time.

So we’ve reached a bit of an impasse. I can’t let it go and he won’t give in. This produces a lot of stress. Coincidentally (or not), this has a produced an increase in my hip pain.  I thought my reduction in pain was from another cause, but multiple variables changed when my pain decreased, and I now suspect stress and anxiety are a big trigger. I was finally able to see a rheumatologist and while he doesn’t think I have signs of ankylosing spondylitis, there appears to be something going on. My bloodwork is normal, but on the borderline of the high end of the range, and  I wasn’t having a lot of pain issues when it was drawn. Today I get X-rays, which I am looking forward to. Hopefully some answers and some better pain management. Now that I’ve made the stress/anxiety connection, I need to figure out how to minimize it. A conflict that cannot be solved doesn’t help.

Getting lost in the crazy world of day job doesn’t sound so bad right now.

2011 Resolutions

NOTE: I typed this up ages ago and then let it sit around while I never edited it. Since it’s never a bad time to set some goals and work toward them, I’m still posting it. I look forward to updating regularly, some how or some way because I’ve failed miserably so far this year.

It’s that time of year again where everyone puts together plans for the new year and sets a gamut of unachievable goals. Yes, I’m guilty of it, too. In fact, I started thinking of things subconsciously before I even put a name to it.

But this year, I think I’m going to do something different. I’ve picked several areas of my life where I want to make improvements and/or changes. So I have a list of major areas where I want to tackle things. As I was thinking about it. I really decided that since the general goals don’t seem to work well for me, perhaps it was best to break down this big things into smaller pieces and perhaps work on implementing two things at a time until I met all the goals on my list. I’m hoping these smaller pieces will be easier to accomplish and I may even break down some of them to smaller to make it all more manageable.

So here’s my list. I am going to pick three of these to start off with and then move on from there.

Health/Exercise

  • Do sit ups, push ups & squats daily – preferably in the morning.
  • Do at least one 10 minute exercise routine a day
  • Lose weight (about 60 lbs) – This one has to wait to later in the year because I’ve found that if I cut too many calories, my breastmilk supply suffers.

Writing

  • Write 100 words every day – Something small to get me back in the habit of writing. It can be any mix of fiction or non fiction.
  • Attend the AW Science Fiction/Fantasy chats when they are held.
  • Do the AW Chat Flash Fiction Challenge on Sundays.

Personal Time

  • Go out once a month, be it date night or a girls’ night.
  • Get two hours of reading/writing time at least once a month, all alone.

House & Home

  • Plan and carry out meal plans and freezer cooking – It will save time and money during the week when I don’t get home until late and don’t want to spend the whole evening cooking like I do now.
  • Organize the house and create a cleaning plan – I’ve been building up to this, mostly using the Flylady’s routines. I’m working on modifying them to better work in our household.

Time with Kids

  • Get out and do more with them – Right now I feel so house-bound because I’m constantly trying to get caught up on housework and such, so I’m going to work on getting that stuff taken care of so we can do more fun things together.

These are the things I want to accomplish this year, so to start off right, these three things are going to be the focus for most of January/February:

  • Do sit ups, push ups & squats daily – preferably in the morning.
  • Write 100 words every day – Something small to get me back in the habit of writing. It can be any mix of fiction or non fiction.
  • Plan and carry out meal plans and freezer cooking – It will save time and money during the week when I don’t get home until late and don’t want to spend the whole evening cooking like I do now.

These are the things I’m going to focus on for the first couple of month, which will hopefully be enough time to make them habit. Around March, I’ll start on something else. I’m hoping to tackle everything by the end of the year.

Be on the lookout for further updates of my 2011 resolutions.