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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I'm Not Okay

I did indeed finish my last week of Chalene Extreme on time. I really wanted to get in that last workout by the end of October because on Nov 1 we were going away for 5 days, and I just didn't want that one last workout hanging over my head.

I scheduled those workouts, and did them on the day that was scheduled, and I finish the final one on Sunday, Oct. 30.

The weekend was busy with trying to get ready for our trip - last minute errands, laundry, getting things ready for the cat sitters.

Monday, Oct 31 I got up earlier than I wanted, because Zappa seemed to think I should get up and feed him. It was good though, had things to do. Had a good morning; a little relaxation, working on getting packed, tried a new yoga workout, had cuddles with Zappa. After Zappa had his cuddles with me, he went over and jumped up on Husband's chair for cuddles from him. I remember thinking: What am I going to do when I lose him? And then a couple of hours later, he was gone.The vet thinks his heart just stopped.

And then we still had to get up early the next morning to catch the ferry. I didn't want to go, but Husband had an appointment in Halifax, and our families were expecting us for a visit. After the first day, it was maybe a bit easier being away; we were busy and distracted, and in a different place where I wasn't expecting to see Zappa.

Heading home was hard. I was bracing myself for it, and trying not to be too upset, because I know that's hard on Husband. I think I maybe bottled it up too tightly, and ended up feeling a bit remote at first, in a little bit of a daze. I was sad but it was like I didn't quite know what to do, or how to process it. It's starting to hit me now though.

You know how sometimes people say "Hi, how are you?" and you just automatically respond that you're good,  you're fine, you're okay....At least I do that a lot.

Yesterday at work a coworker actually asked "are you okay?" I thought I was doing keeping it together more or less, but the way she asked that question makes me think not. And what came out of my mouth was: "not really."
This morning I got really irritated with Husband over nothing, and then tears just started running down my face and I realized I'm not really okay right now. Turns out it's a relief to acknowledge that, even just to yourself.

I will be okay, eventually. But right now? I'm hurting and just trying to keep myself distracted as much as possible.

I haven't really been taking pictures lately. Not sure why exactly. I've been grieving Frank and I haven't had the heart for a lot of things, I think. And Zappa has always been a little harder to photograph; as soon as he knew you were looking at him, he'd come running, looking for attention. Most of the recent ones I do have are from my phone.


 October 22
Wishing for the rain to stop so he could go out and chase mice.



 October 29
Not really a good photo - I have not mastered the art of the selfie - but this was his favourite thing: to be picked up and carried around, resting on the left shoulder. I would stand/walk around the house until he was ready to get down, which could take a while. But he purred and snuggled and was happy as could be.


October 29
I bought a new cat fountain, had not set it up yet; was planning to do it the next time the old one needed to be cleaned. Cory and I had watched Zappa checking out the box before I opened it and chuckled about how fast he'd be in there once I opened it. Sure enough, I unpacked the new fountain on Saturday and the next thing I know he's in the new box looking really pleased with himself.


He had 14 good years. I know that his last days were happy. If it was going to happen, I'm glad it happened when we were there rather than a day later when he would have been all alone. 
But I miss him and I am not okay.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Eyes On The Finish Line

The weather has also taken a sudden turn; last week we were still seeing temperatures of 18 - 20 degrees Celsius. I  walked to my 7:30 pm piano lesson on Tuesday night and didn't need a jacket. Rainy over the weekend though.

This week the temperatures have been around 10 degrees Celsius, or less.  I walked to my piano lesson on Tuesday night, wearing my nice, thick hoodie, and wished I'd dressed warmer and worn gloves.  And more rain coming t his weekend, apparently.
 
Have still been feeling mostly good. Workouts have been happening, lunches have been packed...Up until this week.

Have been sticking fairly close to my workout schedule, and am in the last week of the last phase...Really wanting to finish by the 31st.

So, as I say, all has been going pretty well until Monday. My workout plan has 3 phases, and each phase is 4 weeks. I'm in the 3rd phase, which I have been finding to be the toughest (not a surprise, I suppose), and Monday was the final workout of Phase 3, Week 3...Well sort of, but I'll save that for another post...What I considered to be the last one anyway...

So third time I've done that workout, but it seriously kicked my butt. I had noted the last time that I should increase my weight for a few of the moves, so maybe that had something to do with it. I guess I had swapped a couple of other workouts during this week, which may have left me more fatigued, I don't know. I will say, I was feeling less energetic last weekend anyway, so maybe it's just a minor downswing.

I finished with jelly-limbs, and dragged myself up the stairs. We had dinner cooking in the oven while I was doing my workout, and the timer went off just as I was coming up. I was seriously a bit worried, taking things out of the oven, that I was going to drop something. Even dishing it up and carrying plates felt like an effort. 

So there were no dishes washed, no lunches packed that night...I really didn't want to move any more. I was tired on Tuesday, but it was an off day on the workout schedule anyway, so I just took it easy.

Started week 4 last night...Today is another off day; I had thought about throwing in a cardio workout today, but decided to stick with the rest that's on the schedule...and then I have until Monday to finish out the last week. I should be able to do it.

Already trying to figure out what I will do next...

Aside from the workout stuff, I have been playing around with painting on my own. It's one of those things that I always wanted to try, but it was hard to figure out how to get started. 

So, after a half-dozen paint & sip nights, I got some paints, etc., and gave it a go. I played around on mixed media paper for a bit, and then finally made the jump to canvas paper and did these two paintings.




I did some research on paint colours, which also led to looking at recommended brands. These are done using Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic - Amazon has a nice starter set of 8 colours, so that seemed like a good way to start.

I'm using canvas paper, rather than using canvas stretched on a frame - that seems wasteful/expensive when you are just learning and trying to figure out what you can do, plus they take up space - what do you do with all of them? 

These are small - I have canvas paper pads in 8x10 and 9x13, and I do kind of wonder if it will be hard to move to larger size if I let myself spend too much time doing small pictures, but we'll see.

What's hard about doing it on my own:
- Figuring out what to paint; I've been google searching for examples I can work from
- Figuring out how to start once I choose a picture; that first touch of brush to canvas is hard

What's easier:
- Being able to take my time; I like to take my time (always feel rushed during the sip & paint nights).
- Being able to walk away and come back; letting the paint dry in between, coming back and looking at it with new eyes.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Up Days and Down Days

Tuesday, Sept 27
My energy levels vary widely; I go from feeling like a superwoman, that I can do it all to feeling like I can hardly get through the bare minimum. I find it frustrating because I never know how I'm going to be. I have wondered if it is related to hormone levels? I think lately some of it has been due to - or exacerbated by - stress.

At the moment, I'm still kind of stressed (though coming down) and I am feeling pretty good. See? Here I am blog writing on a Tuesday evening after washing dishes, playing piano, doing a short workout and making a salad to take in my lunch tomorrow (of course this could also have something to do with husband bringing me a coffee after work - I hope I sleep tonight).

Right now:

Feeling good about...
  • Piano lessons; still living out the childhood dreams and doing piano lessons once a week. Things are better now that I have been able to switch to evening lessons once a week, just around the corner from my house. Before I was going on Thursday afternoons during the workday; when I started, the place I was going was close to my office, but winter before last they moved farther away and it has been more difficult. I was afraid if I stopped, I'd never start again, so feeling better with the change.
  • The fact that the high pressure projects that have been going on at work are winding now, and soon things should be back to normal.
  • Workouts; slowly getting back into things over the past week, and reminding myself that it is okay to sub in different workouts if I feel the need or the urge; doing a different workout is better than no workout.
  • Tomorrow is another painting night!

Tuesday, Oct 4
Oh hello! I meant to come back and update at least a couple of times during the week, but things have been busy. Trying to think about what I actually want to do here...I guess two things:

1. Try to track how I'm feeling
2. Work on doing things to make me happy

Not that I'm not a happy person...It's more that I feel like I don't do anything; I go to work, I come home, I do it all over again....I feel like I don't have any interests I guess? Or more accurately: there are things that I think I would like to do someday...But you have to take some first steps or it never happens.

So here goes...

How am I feeling?
Actually still pretty good. There is still some deadline pressure/stress at work, but nothing like it had been for the past month or so.

Workouts
  • Finally finished Phase 2 of Chalean Extreme (took way longer than it should have, but I got there) and aiming to start Phase 3 this week. 
  • Also trying out a few other things, including Tai Cheng which is available through Beach Body On Demand; I just noticed it last week, tried out the first one tonight and found it very relaxing. It will likely take a back seat to Chalene Extreme, but it feels good to have the option since I still feel like I can't do yoga (stupid knee).
Nutrition
  • Did well packing lunches last week - only missed one day, because I somehow completely forgot.
  • There were Girl Guide Cookies; Thin Mints. They are gone now.
The Fun Stuff
  • Piano lessons ended up being cancelled last week, but I still got in a good amount of practice and feeling good about that.
  • Wednesday was a painting night and we did a fun and colorful painting.
  • After almost a year of thinking about it, I got myself some painting supplies and for the past couple of weekends I have been playing around. Just trying to practice/learn more technique at this point, but it's definitely fun.
A Little Extra Miscellany
  • Because I'm not sure which category to stick this in otherwise
  • I didn't get much from my garden this year, but I got a decent crop of hot peppers, and now I'm aiming to use them.
  • I picked up a new Indian cookbook recently, and found a recipe for Paneer and Broccoli Masala that I wanted to try.
  • And it's feeling like time to put the slow cooker to use again, so I made a batch of Lentil & Chicken Curry.
  • Thinking that I will probably make a batch of Chili later in the week.
  • It's been a spicy week, and I'm loving it.

I don't know if I'm feeling like I can do more because I happen to be in a good energy phase, or if doing something new is waking up my brain and making me feel more energetic.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

September

September always feels like the beginning of the end to me....summer winding down, the year winding down, days getting shorter, weather getting colder...I guess until I hit that point where I'm starting to look forward to spring again.

This summer has been...quiet and I guess also busy at the same time? I've been tired a lot. We've been working on stress-inducing projects at work. I'm still having a hard time with losing Frank.

I had another dream about Frank a few weeks back. Husband had to go away for a conference. I was kind of looking forward to some time to myself and had god intentions to get some things done, but I ended up feeling so tired. Anyway, Husband left on Sunday, and I think it was Monday night/waking up Tuesday morning that I dreamed I was going camping with my parents; I was meeting them at the campground, and when I got there they had Frank with them and I thought well that's kind of odd, we hardly ever take the cats camping (try NEVER). But somehow it was plausible that they had Frank, like they'd been taking care of him, and I just thought it was unusual to bring him to the campground. Anyway, they are all nonchalont about it, and I'm all "be careful! watch him!" thinking I didn't want him to get lost, we had to take care of him because we didn't know how long we'd have him. Anyway, at the end of the dream Frank stretched up his paws to me like he wanted me to pick him up and give him a hug and then I woke up enough to realize I was dreaming and I was going to cry so I went back to sleep and overslept. Had to rush out the door to get to work that morning, and the feeling stayed with me for a couple of days.

Zappa had his yearly check up at the beginning of August, and the vet did blood tests and discovered his thyroid levels were off, so he's on medication now and we've been back to the vet a couple of times to make sure everything is okay. Yesterday the vet said she felt better because he's gaining some weight again, she was concerned that he hadn't at first, and considering what happened with Frank. I've been trying not to think about it...That if only we'd had Frank checked out maybe there was something they could have detected and treated...But nothing had seemed off; then hearing the vet say that brought it all back...If only...

I don't want to sound like I'm walking around miserable all the time, because I'm not. I don't ever completely forget, there is something every day. A lot of days are okay; I accept that I still feel a little sad, and I carry on. Some days are just really hard. Maybe I am a total nutcase, but so be it.

So what else has been going on...I feel like I need to change the subject, change the mood.
  • It has been the summer of Fitbit and Pokemon Go; have been so tired recently that I haven't done much in the way of formal workouts, but at least I am walking most days. It's actually been good, the Pokemon thing has been getting me outside more and revisiting some of the nice spots that exist in the vicinity of my office.
  • I discovered Elizabeth Hunter thanks to Amy and I read all of the Irin Chronicles, then the Elemental series, and I actually just went back and read the Irin series again because I loved them that much. I did read some other stuff in between, mind you, but I really did enjoy that series.
  • We did go home to NS for a visit. It was busy as usual, dividing time between families. I spent an afternoon on my own with my family rambling around rocky beaches which I enjoyed a lot. No sisters home to visit this year, and I missed them, but things sound promising for next summer.
  • My parents and brother came to visit over the long weekend in September which was a treat, and also meant a pretty busy weekend. They brought lots of stuff from their garden (I am pretty much garden-less these days without my deer fence). Mom and I canned tomatoes which I will enjoy this winter. Dad and my brother worked on my garden shed. Mom and I did some shopping. We all went off to the park for a walk - the weather was beautiful all weekend.
  • The stress-inducing projects at work are not quite over...we will get through though.
  • I've had a couple more painting nights; one of these days I need to bite the bullet and get myself some painting supplies to play with at home.

Now I guess I am settling in for fall.

I had started doing the Chalean Extreme workout program, and was liking it a lot. Then I lost my momentum around mid-August; that would be when I was hit with the extreme tired. So would like to get going again with that, and I'm really trying to think what I can do about food; this summer has not been great, too much crappy food. Sometimes it feels really complicated, trying to mesh what I would like to be eating with what Husband wants to be eating, and then I'm tired and I can't be bothered...Anyway, I need to do something.

I need to stop waiting for things, and I just need to do; that is my mind set at the moment. Now I just have to figure out how to actually do that....

Zappa


Get me out of here!

Wandering rocky beaches with my family.


Chasing Pokemon around Annapolis Royal with my Husband and in-laws.


Walking around uptown Saint John



Harvest Moon



August and September paintings


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

One Day At A Time. Over and Over Again.

Last night I dreamed that Frank came home. That he had just been missing all this time, and someone else had been taking care of him, but now he was home.

It was a bit disorienting to wake up and remember why he can't come home. My heart keeps breaking over and over again.

I don't want to talk to anyone about it because it seems a bit nuts; there's this little voice telling me that it's not reasonable to grieve this much over a cat. But here I am.

When Frank actually was missing for two weeks a few years ago, I dreamed three times about him coming home. I've actually been surprised that I haven't dreamed about it before now. I figured the difference was that I know this time. There is no wondering.

I have no idea if writing about this will help, but it seems like it can't hurt anyway.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Catching Up

Well now, it has been a while and I don't know where to start. We are over half way through 2016 already, and half way through the summer. Honestly, it feels like 2016 has been a bit rough on me so far.

I was sick with a cold at the end of March, then with a flu at the start of April; it seemed like I was sick for a month.

I managed to trip myself, and smash my knee down on our porcelain tile floor on April 22 (I remember the date because it was exactly 1 week before my birthday). My knee is better, but still not 100% back to normal; I can't stand to kneel on it because it just feels wrong.

Then early in June I hurt my foot. I was walking down our hallway to grab my sneakers so I could go work out and whacked my baby toe against the vacuum. It hurt. A lot. But I brilliantly decided it was no big deal, and carried on. Not my best workout, and I ended up taking some days off from exercise after that. My foot at least seems to be pretty much fine now, though it definitely did not look great at the time.


And honestly, that it all minor stuff. Losing Frank has been the hardest, and while I'm doing better I am still sad. And also now extremely paranoid about Zappa, but trying not to be too crazy.

On the up side, we have been having a pretty nice summer, and we are on vacation next week. No big plans, just relaxing and enjoying some free time in the summer.

I don't have much of a garden planted this year. It was so frustrating last year to see things growing so well, only to be eaten by the deer. So there doesn't seem to be much point until we do something to keep the deer out of the yard. Then, losing Frank in May left me not feeling like doing much of anything for a while.

But I have a few things planted, and then there are the rose and lilac bushes that my parents brought over to transplant at the end of May. This one in particular is doing really well.

From this:


To this:



It is still small, but seems to be thriving.

Workout-wise, I have been doing Chalene Extreme and enjoying it a lot. I'm not keeping up with the schedule, the workouts happen when they happen, but I still feel like I can see progress. I've also been walking more, due to the fact that I finally broke down and bought a Fitbit (which seems like it should be a whole post of it's own) and I do find it to be motivating.

I think that's about it for now. I'm feeling tired and ready for time off next week. Hoping the nice weather keeps up. Maybe once I've had some time off, I'll be able to write something more interesting here.

For now, I'll leave you with a few more  garden pictures.

My small vegetable garden has herbs and a few tomatoes and peppers that I will attempt to protect from the deer.



I planted a bunch of lavender and some more thyme in the flower bed by the driveway because deer don't seem to like eating those. Flower bed really needs mulch, but I guess that will happen next year now.


The beds around the side of the house have been growing pretty wild, but that means they don't require much work, so I'm good with that for now.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I don't know

When you've had a pet for almost 14  years, how long does it take before you stop noticing they are no longer there? It's like a constant weight on my heart right now.

We picked up Frank's ashes last week, on Friday. The vet tech brought out what looked very much like a gift bag; it seemed strange but also thoughtful? I was distraught, visibly so I am sure. The vet tech was speaking to me very quietly and I couldn't hear a word she was saying, but Cory was listening and responding. When we got out to the car, I had to ask what she was saying. He said they made us a plaster paw and it was fragile, so I should be careful with it; I felt a bit bad that I hadn't acknowledged this, especially when I got home, looked at it and realized it was Frank's paw print.

I thought that I would maybe bury Frank's ashes out in the garden, under a bush where he liked to sleep. But then I realized that a) I'm not ready for that, and b) it's okay that I'm not ready; it can wait until it doesn't hurt so much to think about. I don't know when that will be, but some day I will get there.

My parents and brother were here for a visit this weekend. They brought some cuttings from rose bushes and a couple of little lilac bushes. We hope that the deer won't bother the rose bushes, and we've done our best to protect the little lilac bushes to give them a fighting chance.


I have not been doing much - some spring cleaning, trying to de-clutter and get rid of a few things. We're in to the beginning of garden season now, so I should really get out and start getting some things done. I haven't felt like it, but I also know I will probably feel better if I do.

My knee is better, but...it still feels wrong if I happen to bump it, and I can't kneel down on it. I think I can still see a bit of a bump there, but I don't know if that is my imagination. I don't know if it just needs more time to heal or if I maybe I should have/still should get it checked out?

Anyway, between that and between me just wallowing and not feeling like doing much of anything, there hasn't been much in the way of exercise. However, it is time to start. I will start slow and see how it goes.

Mom & I did some shopping while she was here, and I bought this new table runner. Zappa thinks it makes a great lounging spot.


Climbing Rose that I hope will take root and survive.


Lilac bushes are in here....


Hopefully safe from these guys...


Yes, I am talking to you; don't give me that innocent face!