Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Year of 50: January

That title is just because I can't think of how to start. But I do turn 50 this year. And it did somewhat shape how I started out the year. Good intentions as usual. Cue immediate crash and burn.

The reality is, I've having a tough time, and it's pretty much to do with my job. One aspect of my life, sure, but it spills over and affects everything else.

I haven't exactly loved my job for a while now. It's been going downhill. I could never quite put my finger on an explanation. And no one can help if you can't explain the problem.

Anyway, to make matters worse, my job has changed a few times over the past 3 years. Teams got switched around. And around. I move to a new team. Then that new team gets moved to a completely different group, and a brand new project. And, I thought then, maybe this is good. I wasn't happy, but I'm also not good at being proactive. I don't often deliberately choose new directions in my life; I've mostly just followed along the path, and went where it led me. So I probably would not have gone after a change myself.

It was overwhelming. Completely not what I expected. Huge, terms of the number of people. So many new things to learn. I'm not so good with new things. But I keep trying to tell myself that it's good, I should take advantage, I can do it.

In terms of capability, I probably can. I can learn stuff. I've done it before. But I am fighting with myself the whole way.

I had a couple of weeks off, end of December, and spent some time thinking things over. And what came to me is that I'm tired of it all.

That is the problem I was having before; sitting down to my tasks and thinking "I don't want to do this." But then I at least had the background knowledge. I knew the environment, I had an investment in the work, and I cared about it - or at least some of it.

Now, there is so much. I don't have that connection. And everything just makes me tired. Sitting down, looking a every new task just makes me feel tired. Just the idea of it. I just feel so done with it.

And I don't know if that means this specific job, with this company. If I could get a new job, would I feel different?

And does it really matter? I still have to work. This is the training and experience I have.  So what does one do?

Cue me, chasing myself around in circles.

I am exhausted right now. Probably a little depressed. Winter is never my best time of year, let's face it, so maybe things will start looking up as we get closer to spring? The days are already starting to get longer, though here we still have lots of cold weather to look forward to. May is usually when I really start feeling good.

Anyway, all of this nattering on solves nothing. I can hope that writing stuff down will help get some of it out of my system? But I don't know what the solution is. Possibly some extended time off. I do have that option, though it would be without pay, and Husband is not too keen on that idea. Go figure. At the very least, I should start making myself do things that might help with stress, but I don't have the energy.

I feel very stuck, and I feel like I am getting in my own way at this point. I'm tired and I don't know how to fix it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Mid-Summer Update

I'm starting a new workout program called Morning Meltdown 100. Program name being slightly hilarious; ya'll can put "Morning" in the title, but morning workouts will still not be happening :)

Anyway, as is the usual with these plans, it wants you to write down all kinds of goals before you start. It includes a book to do this, as well as to track your workouts. It's a really beautiful looking, hardcover book. I don't want to write in it. Also, I'm kind of over the grand, intention setting thing at the start of new plans. Basically this popped up as a new Beach Body On Demand program; it looked like one that I might like, so I signed up for it, and then found myself added to a challenge group. I have no quibble with that really, it is kind of cool sometimes to follow along with others as you make your way through a new plan. But I still don't want to write in the pretty book (side note: the book that came with the 2B Mindset plan is probably one of the better books I've seen for this kind of thing; it looked and felt like a workbook, so I did not mind at all writing in it).

I've kind of gone off track there. I don't want to write in the book. But there are a couple of things I do want to make note of.

  • Haven't followed a regular workout plan since finishing Lift4. Late spring and early summer have been taken up with gardening. I'm okay with that.
  • At the end of Lift 4, and in early stages of gardening, I was feeling a lot of achy joints - hands and wrists, notably, but to a certain extent all over. I was blaming the weights, as I was going heavy, and in the past I have found that hard on my hands. And then, as I spent a few weeks lugging around giant bags of garden soil, and was feeling it pretty much all over, I blamed that.
  • Eventually, I started wondering if I'm developing arthritis?
  • Also, my hands were swelling to the point that I couldn't wear my usual rings. 
  • My weight went up a few pounds, and was not budging, no matter what I did.
  • I was also taking a Keratin supplement at that point because my nails were mush and nothing else seemed to be working.
  • I stopped the Keratin, and the swelling is gone from my hands, and the new pounds seem to be going away.
  • My joints have been somewhat less achy, though I am finding more than ever that I feel stiff if I sit around too long, and when I first wake up in the morning.
  • My heels, particularly the left, have been very tender. Again, seems to be worse if I have not been up moving around; gets better once I do start walking around; gets worse if I do a lot of walking around.
  • Lower back as also bothering me for a while, but seems better now.
  • I have been vigilant about walking and moving around more, even if I have not been following any kind of exercise plan.
  • Oh, in case you are wondering, my nails are in much better shape, so I suppose the keratin did work. 

So that is where I am right now. Where do I want to go?

  • This exercise plan has you doing 100 days of short workouts. Short workouts are good. I'm only in the prep phase, but 20 - 30 minutes is the promise. 
  • I will be on vacation for 10 days, starting Aug 9, and I'm not packing dumbbells, so I will be taking a break early on.
  • I'm not going to kill myself over this, I will be happy to stick to the plan as well as I am able, and hopefully keep the extra walking as well.
  • At the end of it, I would like to be feeling good. Moving easy. 
  • Building some more strength/stamina, losing a few more of those pounds would be a bonus.
  • I do think am feeling better now that I was; maybe that's because it's finally summer and sunny (spring was really late, cold, and rainy this year); maybe it's the extra walking, and mostly eating well. 
  • Not that I haven't been feeling tired, and overwhelmed with everything that I want/need to keep up with, but it's been better.
  • Stronger. Better. That's the goal.

This was all very off the cuff, without a whole lot of thinking it out. I think I'll leave it there.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Stress of De-Stressing

I felt good about actually completing (in my fashion) the Lift4 program. I was thinking I'd take a break from that, go back to Pump for a bit (change things up); garden season is coming up which gets me outside working around the yard.

I did one Pump workout. I have been out working on getting the garden ready a few times, but not as much as I'd like. The weather, after an all too brief warm and sunny stretch, has gone back to cold, gloomy rainy. Feeling tired and my time is being taken up by other things.

I've been grinding my teeth in my sleep. Waking up with headaches, and sore jaw. I started wearing my bite plate again on Monday night, which helps somewhat. Yesterday I noticed I was doing it during the day, while awake; an this on a day off from work.

I'm assuming this is stress, as that is the usual reason, but I'm not sure where the stress is coming from exactly. Over the past few years, it's been work; I was unhappy and frustrated with things for a long time. It has settled this last year though; not necessarily that things have gotten better, but I've made a sort of peace with it, I think. We'll see how long that lasts.

I think it's just that I've got too much going on lately, and I feel like there isn't time for everything I want/need to do. Or just not enough time to myself, plain and simple. I don't know. Which is weird in a way; there is only the two of us, plus cats. But there is only so much free time; that time has to be split up between chores that need to be done, and things I want to do, and I only have so much energy.

Last weekend Sunday was going to be my day to be productive and get stuff done. But on the day, it was like I had so much stuff to do, that I was paralyzed by it all; just could not figure out where to start, so really didn't accomplish much of anything.

I need to prioritize?

I need more energy, and I need it to stop raining, and I need the sun to come out.

I need to say no to some things.

Maybe I have no idea.

I need there to be less clutter in the house so it's not so hard to deal with anything.

I need the Husband to help out more.

I need to set limits on some things.

I need a nap?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Annual Check In: Count down to 50

Happy birthday to me. 49. Huh.

So I thought I would do a bit of a check in. Blogging seems to be something I don't get to much anymore. I miss the old days where there were lots of bloggers, writing about similar things. Facebook, etc., is just not the same. But it certainly takes a lot of time, and as the years go by it seems we have less and less of that - or I do, anyway.

My recent blogging had been fairly repetitive; exhausted, busy, exhausted, exhausted, busy...I finally went to the doctor in January, and he gave me antibiotics. I waited a couple of weeks to be sure, then made an appointment to go back, and then he gave me corticosteriods. That just felt like a miracle. I had forgotten what it was like to feel good. I felt like a whole new person. My mom and my husband both said I shouldn't have waited so long, which is probably true, but I think it built up gradually. I kept waited to catch up and feel rested, to get some energy back, for allergy season to be over, for the cold to go away...It's like I forgot what it was like to feel good.

I still don't know what was wrong with me. I worry that if it was something in my environment, it will come back. But for now, it is good to feel normal again. I still get tired, but a chance to rest puts me to right again.

I completed a new 8 week exercise problem. It took me longer than 8 weeks, mind you, because life is still busier that I want it to be, but I managed to do it. It was a lifting + HIIT program. To be honest my intervals were more likely moderate most of the time. I definitely modified. I am keeping things low impact; I think my knees will never be the same and I don't want to aggravate anything. I am also finding that a lot of the up and down stuff like burpees and squat thrusts can make me dizzy, so I'm pretty much avoiding them for now. Honestly, I figure if I'm moving, I'm good. Just as long as I'm doing something.

I joined a FB sketching club group. They meet at the library twice a month on Sunday afternoons. When I joined, I was really thinking that I was interested in going, but it hasn't worked out; weekends seem to be so busy lately. On the rare occasion where I have a quiet weekend, I don't want to go anywhere. But the group has been doing monthly sketch challenges, which has got me doing more at home. In particular, April was birds. I didn't manage to get every day, but I did a lot. May is going to be animals. Trying to stick with it. One of those things that I have been wanting to learn/get better at for years. The hardest part always seems to be getting started. Having jumped that hurdle, I just need to keep going, yes?

And of course I got interrupted/busy/didn't finish. Publishing as is.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 In Review

At risk of repeating myself....It's been a rough year. Husband ended up being on-call over the holidays, which meant we couldn't go anywhere and I was actually a bit relieved about that. It's not that I don't want to go home and visit our families, but it's been so long since I've had a bunch of uninterrupted time to myself at home. I needed it.

Looking back..

  • Cautiously optimistic that my knee was better and I could get back into an exercise routine
  • That's what I see from looking back at the few posts that I wrote; I can't say there was much memorable.
  • Looking forward to plans to go visit my sisters in April! All kicked off by my baby sister sharing the Rod Stewart concert event on Facebook and then commenting that it would be a nice birthday gift to her if we all went to the concert. I'd already half been thinking that it would make a great excuse for a visit, so plans were made.
  • Unexpected work stuff. Bad, bad, work stuff. Stress through the roof, and me feeling miserable. This company wins all kinds of "best workplace" awards, and I will admit that the benefits are excellent (and make it hard to leave), but quite honestly I am less and less happy working there as time goes on; haven't really been happy since they acquired the company I originally worked for. Ended up taking an extra week of vacation to recover from the stress a bit before I took off to visit my sisters.
  • Vacation was excellent.
  • Work still sucked once I got back.

Spring & Summer
  • Busy, busy with home improvement stuff 
  • Allergies were terrible this year; tried different allergy meds to no avail; only thing that helped as taking Advil Cold & Sinus Advanced on top of the allergy meds when it got really bad. I know that's probably not good, and if things don't get better I'll have to go to the doctor about it.
  • Heat pump installed. (Wanted by husband)
  • Tank-less hot water system installed (Wanted by husband)t
  • Fix dry wall at back of garage (Wanted by husband) and discover we need to have our roof re-shingled.
  • Cat fence kit installed! (Wanted by me)
  • I spent most of my free time in spring and early summer hanging out in the yard with Isabelle. She needed the outdoor time, or she would get wild; we couldn't leave her outside by herself, because she could easily get over the fenc.
  • Early in the spring it was less pleasant, often cold and windy and mostly I was just standing around the yard watching her.
  • As things warmed up/thawed/started turning green, I was able to pick away at yard work which was nice; I felt like I was accomplishing something and I enjoy being outside if I have something to occupy myself.
  • Still, it meant I didn't have much free time for anything else.
  • But then the cat fence went up, and for the first time in several years, I could actually have a garden!
  • We actually had a pretty good growing season, and I enjoyed puttering and grew lots of tomatoes.
  • I will say, I appreciated the heat pump then. Husband likes to be cool and while I often felt it was a bit too much - me in sweaters during July and August - it was nice to be able to come in from gardening in the summer heat and be able to cool off.
  • Two quick trips home to NS; one for Husband's family reunion weekend, and one when my baby sis came home.
  • Baby sister was home for two weeks, and actually came over to visit us for a few days and we went to see ZZ Top (they were excellent).
  • Summer flew by too fast as usual.

Fall & Early Winter
  • Harvesting tomatoes, canning salsa and tomatoes...
  • Parents came for Thanksgiving weekend and Dad assembled a new Tardis for me (the original one was unfortunately rotting away from damp).
  • I didn't get fall yard clean up done this year. I kept meaning to, but somehow there was never time. It rained a lot. We were busy. It turned cold early.
  • We went to Hal-Con in late October. Lots of cool guests this year, but we only had one day. Minor crisis when I somehow lost my convention bracelet in the morning, so we had to go back to registration again. We saw Levar Burton (Q&A panel) and Anthony Stewart Head (Photo Op, Q&A Panel, Autograph). This was our second time going, and the first time we saw any of the guests, so we were still figuring things out. 
  • November we were off to the  Whisky Festival for the 4th year in a row, this time with a couple of friends which made it even more fun.
  • Was sick for a couple of weeks - end of Nov/beginning of Dec - and still haven't quite shaken the sniffles and cough.
  • Off on vacation from Dec 21 to Jan 2nd. Did a lot of cleaning on the 21st, my first day off, and ended up not feeling well again. It felt like a mild asthma attack at first - and maybe was - but it lasted and accompanied by sniffles and cough lasted a couple of days. The feeling of having a weight sitting on my chest was gone after that, but still have the sniffles and cough. Feeling like allergies again  I may have to break down and go to the doctor if this keeps up.
  • Thinking back, I found the allergies seemed to get bad this spring after we got the heat pump. I don't know if that's what is making it worse again now? I don't know, maybe it was coincidence.
  • So after the first day, I spent my days relaxing for the most part. Husband was home anyway, and I find I am less likely to do house stuff if he's around. He went back to work on Thursday, so I puttered around Thurs & Fri, picking away at some things I've been needing to get done (taking everything out of china cabinet to clean and dust, cleaning out cupboard that mouse has been into, more de-cluttering in kitchen, laundry...and the list goes on).
  • Managed to play around with a little bit of painting, but not as much as I would have liked. Hardly touched the piano at all.
  • Friday evening we had a Pokemon Go EX Raid to go to. It was mildly snow-stormy all day, but off we went with our intrepid Pokemon Go friends to do it anyway. Normally difficult to get Husband to step foot outside in good weather, but he'll go out in the snow for an EX Raid. 
  • Weekend was quiet aside from Husband's on call, and our garage door deciding it didn't need to close....sigh.
  • We got an instant pot...a few weeks ago? A month ago? Made Pork Carnitas on Saturday, and that is the best thing we've done in the instant pot so far.
  • And now here it is Monday, and vacation is almost over. I do feel more rested and de-stressed, but still not ready to go back to work and I wish the cold/allergies/whatever would go away.

Looking ahead...What do I want this year? Ah...Okay...Maybe that should be another post or I'll never get this one finished!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Let's Try This Again

[Part B]
I kept trying to write this post...Starting in March/April I think. I don't know how many times I started over; could just never manage to finish. Last time was in August, so I'm just going to hit publish with that date now and leave it. This has been a really hard year for me....And the 2016/2017 were rough as well, as I tried to deal with the loss of Frank & Zappa. Things have to get better from here?

Early April, 2018...

Well that totally didn't work!

What can I say? Still so exhausted, and then a couple of busy weeks, and then I got sick....

Towards the end of March there was actually a bit of yoga, and I started easing into Les Mills Pump again. I decided it was best to stick with something simple. So I've been doing the first Pump workout which is sort of the intro workout, and the shortest one - around 25 minutes I think? Using the lightest weights I can stand to use; sort of the opposite of what one usually aims for, but trying to give the knees an easy start.

So that seems to be going okay, and now I'm getting ready to go away for a week...So basically let's interrupt things again, and hope I don't wind up getting sick upon my return.

Haven't really been tracking things well. Will try to start again because I know it is useful for me to do that.

My work stress increased by a great big huge amount last week, due to a major [and unexpected] re-org. I already had vacation time booked, but ended up adding some extra days on to the front.

Work is constantly stressful these days as it is. I don't think I've been getting enough introvert time lately [I'm going to start calling it that because I don't know how else to describe it - I periodically need a bunch of time with no plans, no demands on me, and preferably a bit of solo time and since I used up all my vacation time on traveling and visiting last year, I am way below quota on the down time].

So I've been off work since end of day Thursday. I think I've been sleeping better, and am feeling less physically tired; still working through the mental and emotional stuff and honestly not so sure how that is going. This whole working for a living thing can really suck the life out of you.

Late May 2018...

Ha ha ha! Still totally not working!

I forgot I had started this post, and thought about deleting and starting over; I'm writing this mainly for me though, and this is how things were/are, so I decided to leave it. It will be a long post, but it's my blog after all.

I had a wonderful vacation. Quality time with my sisters. Explored Butchart Gardens and enjoyed their Afternoon Tea, Wandered Victoria. Saw Rod Stewart in Vancouver. Checked out Stormcrow Tavern. More family time. Actually came down with a cold during my vacation, but didn't let it spoil my trip.

Ended two weeks vacation in a much better frame of mind, more rested and balanced that I had felt in a long time.

Work...Well, it's still never going to be my happy place. It pays the bills and lets me sock away a bit for retirement, I get good vacation time and other benefits. We'll leave it at that.

Which brings us to now...Not so exhausted. Yay spring and more daylight! Makes such a huge difference for me. I still have no time for anything though. My lovely little Isabelle wants to be outside all the time, but if she's outside, I have to be outside. Not that I don't enjoy the out doors time, I've been spending a lot of time in the garden (though somewhat slow going, as I am having to constantly check on where Isabelle is), but I'm not getting much of the indoor stuff accomplished. Oh well, who needs a tidy, uncluttered house anyway? And yes, I am the human, I do not have to give in to the cat (Ha!), but she gets all wild and fractious if she doesn't get outside to burn of some energy.

It looks like we are finally going to get moving on converting our fence (which was the deal we made when I agreed to go with a chain link fence back in 2014) . If all goes according to plan, we should be back to have a fence that will keep the cat in and the deer out. So I get my life back, and get to have a garden again. Dreams, people, maybe they can come true now and then.

Even assuming we do get the work on the fence completed, I expect I will still be spending a lot of time outside for a while, to make sure that it is cat proof. But reprieve is in sight.

So it will probably be autumn, at the earliest, before I get back to a semi-normal exercise routine. I have always been less likely to do formal workouts this time of year anyway, since I'd rather take advantage of the nice weather while it's here.

Try, and try again

[Part A]
I kept trying to write this post...Starting in March/April I think. I don't know how many times I started over; could just never manage to finish. Last time was in August, so I'm just going to hit publish with that date now and leave it. This has been a really hard year for me....And the 2016/2017 were rough as well, as I tried to deal with the loss of Frank & Zappa. Things have to get better from here?

I keep trying to write a post and not getting it finished. It just keeps getting too long, for one thing. So here I go again, trying to keep from going off into the weeds...

This winter/early spring were really hard on me. I was exhausted all the time, and super stressed by work stuff. Coming home from work and then having to take Isabelle outside; otherwise she would get fractious. I couldn't do much of anything, just have to follow Isabelle around the yard to make sure she didn't go over the fence; that time of year can be wet, cold and windy. And it left me with less (sometimes no) time for other things which just added to my frustrations.

I was taking vitamins - D3, B12, an anti-stress remedy - to try and feel better. I remember wondering to Husband at one point; what do I need to do to stop feeling so crappy? He responded: Isn't that called spring?

End of March it all came to a crisis when there was a re-org announced at work, that just amped up my stress levels even more. We already had vacation planned for the second week in April, and after my manager suggested that maybe I needed some extra time off, I added on extra vacation days so that I had a week off at home before our trip.

Looking back now, I can say I was pretty much burned out. The extra time off, time to myself, definitely helped, as did our trip out to the west coast to visit my sisters (and see Rod Stewart in concert). I'm still not happy with how things have changed at work, but I don't feel like I'm ready to go to pieces, which is how I was feeling before.

In May, I started picking away at doing things in the garden, so at least while I was on Isabelle duty I could keep myself busy (an then chase after her if she went over the fence while I wasn't looking).

The days got longer, and I started feeling better. Husband was so right about that. Some years are worse than others for that, and this was a bad one. But, aside from a cold June, we have been having a beautiful summer. Our fence is finally fixed up, which means Isabelle can have more outdoors time and I don't have to be out there following her around. And the extra bonus for me: I can actually have a garden again.

I've spent a fair amount of time outside this spring and summer, and energy-wise I've been feeling decent.

We don't have quite so many trips away planned for this year, so I've been able to have some extra long weekends at home, which helps a lot. I've still got  a lot of stuff around the house to catch up on, but I've been picking away at some. And formal workouts are still not happening. I'm not worrying about it too much, better to take advantage of the good weather while it lasts.

We do have another vacation coming up soon, which will be a trip home, and looking forward to it.