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.

  • 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).
  • 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 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....


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, 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!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Saying Goodbye

Yesterday was not a good day. Today is only marginally better. Lots and lots of tears.

I will miss waking up in the morning to find Frank snuggled up by my feet. I will miss Frank rubbing his head against me in affection as I get cat food out of the cupboard; he was a big fan of meal time.

He often used to accompany me to the bathroom when it was time for me to get ready for bed at night. He would settle on the bath mat for belly rubs and pets. He actually liked to be covered with a towel; this would often lead to play time, but sometimes he would just sleep that way.

Sometimes he could be frustrating. I would be sitting in my chair in the living room and he would sit down by my chair and stare at me; I called it Frank face. He would lift up a paw and kind of wave it at me, which made us laugh; it was his way of saying I want you to get up and...Well, that tended to be the frustrating part; figuring out what he wanted. Sometimes I think he didn't know what he wanted either, other than for me to get up and follow him around.

I loved to pick him up and hold him because he was so large and solid, and yet so soft. It was comforting somehow.

He was a huge cat, and therefore had huge paws with appropriately large (and sharp!) claws, but he was gentle. He would wake me up by tapping my forehead with a paw. Much as I don't care to be woken in the middle of the night or early in the morning, it was still entertaining to see his face looking down and me, and this giant paw coming down on my forehead.

Fourteen years is a long time, and it feels like something is missing.

It helps that we still have Zappa, and  he has been extra snuggly. I am also more aware than ever that we have limited time left, but for now I'm trying to just enjoy the cuddles.

First & Last

The first photos  I ever posted of Frank (to the rear, and Zappa in front) on my blog. They would have been somewhere around 6 years old.

Frank loved to be outdoors.

Last photo of Frank on my camera, almost 14 years old. They've been enjoying the spring weather. I've been looking forward to summer and hanging out with them in the garden.

Good-bye, my friend. Thank you for giving us as many years as you were able. You will be missed.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ever have one of those days?

I made it through the first week of my new workout program! Feeling like this is a doable-thing.

Friday (yesterday) was a rest day, but I was hoping to sneak in a short yoga session; feeling like I could use a good stretch.

Did not happen.

Get up and head to kitchen to feed cats. Turn around from getting cat food out of cupboard to find Frank lying directly in my path. Attempt course correction, flailing wildly while trying to regain balance without stepping on cat and wondering if I've left anything breakable on the counter, where my flailing might lead to broken glass on our porcelain tile floor.

Manage to survive this without mishap, and continue on with my day. As I'm moving around the kitchen, tidying up, knock over broom, step on handle which slides causing me to come down hard on my knee. For the record? I do not recommend banging your knee down on porcelain tile. 

And finally, my cleaning lady comes and, while cleaning the kitchen, knocks the glass cruet that we use for sesame oil onto the floor. She has never broken anything before at my house and she felt really bad. I felt a little bad, I did like that cruet, but at that point it almost felt inevitable.

The bright spot in my day - literally - was the fact that it was a beautiful sunny day that almost felt like summer; being at home I was able to eat my lunch out on the deck and enjoy some sun. Frank kept me company.

Today was the start of Week 2 on my  new exercise plan. It was Chest & Triceps, so I figured I was okay to give that a go. I had forgotten there are a lot of pushups, and while I can do some from my toes, I can't do enough to get through a whole workout so I modified either by just keeping one knee down, or doing incline push ups with my hands on the bench.

Tomorrow is supposed to be legs, which I'm not so sure about; I'm still not bending my knee easily, and I can't imagine doing 50 minutes of squats and lunges. So not sure what will happen there, will have to wait and see.