Saturday, October 27, 2012

Update 10-27-12

I am not going to apologize for my lack of blogging. I don't care for it when others do it.  I write when I can and I write when I am able - mentally.  I wish, though, that I were a great blogger with lots of things to say that lots of people wanted to hear.  I have a lot of things to say, but I just don't like saying them where people can see them.  I suppose it has something to do with the need/desire to be accepted, never wanting to stir the pot and a fear or who might read what I really think/feel.

A lot has taken place over the last few months.  Yesterday and today were milestones in my relationship.  The details, I'm unwilling to share.  The situation is tender and delicate and should be treated as such.  I am very cognizant of the fact that I am in a relationship with a man who has children and what a delicate and fragile situation that is or can be.  Not just for the children, but for all involved.  I will say, however, a milestone was crossed today.

Work has been challenging lately. Not just with the situation in my office which is huge, but the overall morale is down in extreme ways. It saddens me.  While I have been afforded new opportunities, I have also been challenged with different personalities and people that I do not trust. This puts me in a position where I constantly contemplate every move I make and my purpose. I don't like that and I don't like to be surrounded by things that I find untrustworthy.

There has been a huge baby boom. I am surrounded by friends and family who are pregnant and having children.  Those people who I am surrounded by are also surrounded by women who are pregnant and I find it just amazing.  I am thankful that I am very close with nieces who are both with child and I have been afforded the opportunity to feel the miracle (as best as an outsider can) that takes place inside a mother's body.  I spent well over an hour with one niece with my hands on her belly and pushing here and there and rubbing to feel movement of the little baby boy growing inside her belly.  Feeling him kick and putting my ear to her belly to listen to his movements. What a miracle!  I am also amazed at how differently individuals react to pregnancy.  I don't know as though I will ever experience this miracle, but I am in awe and amazed at every turn.

Speaking of babies, I took part in making a quilt for the first time ever. We (two other friends and I) made it for another friend who is having a baby.  I am super proud of said quilt. My part was to sew all of the little square together. I had never used a sewing machine prior to that day. My friend K's mom was there to help us. My job was the sew the each little square together. I was fascinated and geeked to finally learn how to use a sewing machine.  I am so proud of the job we did.

This is year two of bowling on a league and I'm having so much fun. I am not a consistent bowler, but I can say that I have improved a great deal from last year to this year.  I never fathomed that I would bowl. I've never been a good bowler.  Last year, however, my cousin (one that I spent a lot of time with as a child, but not so much as adults) asked me to bowl every other week. I agreed. I needed something outside of the house and relationship, at that time, to do.  I wasn't all that good last year, but I am continuously improving. It's fun to just get out, do something new, meet new people and have some girl time.

I've made a ton of new friends in the past year or two and they are amazing and they keep me busy (along with work), but I am missing some of my older friends. I feel like we are drifting apart. It's totally a cliche.  The farther apart you are, the easier it is to drift apart. I hate it. I despise it.  Everyone's lives are changing and we all become too busy to even catch up or visit.  It makes me sad. I feel like I am only one person, though, and it's so hard to reach out to everyone.  I struggle, so much, with this issue.  I just, this instant, had an epiphany though. In July, I went to see a counselor and she suggested skype for one of my friends. Why did I, just now, think to apply that same answer to my other, far-away friends? 

Sadly, I must report that, there is something wrong with my mother. Medically. And no one can figure out what.  My mom does not have insurance so she has to rely on the free clinic.  Surprisingly, to me anyway, they sent her for a CT scan, blood work and a MRI. They didn't find anything, but I can tell you that something isn't right. Her speech is funny, she is slow and lethargic, tired all of the time and she won't even finish a beer sometimes. If there is anything to know about my mom, it is that she never has trouble drinking beer. Sometimes, she won't even finish one. This is very unusual. It took a while for her to admit that she doesn't feel good. She says her legs feel heavy and she's tired a lot.  The doctor at the free clinic says that he hasn't found anything, but something isn't right. She doens't go back, now, for a month, but I am worried.

Surely there are a million other updates (like how I'm finally doing something to my living room - decorating is flipping expensive!), but I'm sure this is a long post already.  I will say that it is nice to get some things out there. I have attempted to keep a feelings journal, but have a constant fear of whose hands it might fall into so I don't write in it much either.  Occasionally, though, I enjoy putting something out there even if no one reads it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I’m at a point in my life where things should be great. Things are great. I’ve met someone who is great. I have some great new friends and have been crazy busy doing new things with new people and life is great. Yet, I still struggle.  I struggle to find balance. I struggle to find a way to stay connected with old friends. The ones who have helped me survive in the past and who I love dearly. I struggle to connect with family. I struggle with my great, new relationship. I struggle with work (many, many changes are afoot), and I struggle with the fact that I’m struggling. I should be happier than I have ever been. And, in some ways, I am.  Yet there are many things that still linger. 

I look around me and I don’t feel that I have the right to be so unhappy about things.  Many of my loved ones and friends are struggling with life situations that are far worse than mine and I often don’t feel that it’s fair of me to also burden them with my issues.  And because people are so busy with their own lives, they often aren’t able to offer the support I am looking for and I find that, even though I am surrounded by people, I am very alone.   

I struggle with knowing whether or not my reactions to situations and my feelings are healthy.  And how do I know that?  A person’s feelings are their feelings. I often find myself trying to talk myself out of feeling the way I do.  How is anyone supposed to have regard for my feelings when I never tell anyone what they are?

I’ve been struggling enough to put myself back into counseling. Unfortunately, the person I saw before is no longer in this area so I have had to see someone new. Very daunting. I have only met with her once, but she seemed like someone I could work with.  I hope and pray for good results.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Night Owl: How to be a Day-Timer

 "The early bird catches the worm."
Photo courtesy dicktay2000

Recently, I was flipping through my stats (something I don't normally do) and I noticed that people have landed on my blog by looking for ways to live in the Day-Timer's world as a Night Owl.  Since I am a Night Owl and, over the last few years, have somewhat learned to adapt to my daytime job schedule, I thought I would share what I have learned.

Let me start by saying that, for a long time, I felt, yet again, out of place in this world knowing that I have always been a Night Owl.  Even in grade school, I liked to stay up late and sleep late.  In doing a smidge of googling on the subject, though, I find that it's not so abnormal.  What I find unfortunate for those of us who are Night Owls is that society and our jobs often dictate what kind of schedule we must maintain.

I won't go into what makes us Night Owls. Y'all can google that yourselves.  What I will tell you is what has helped me (though not "cured" me) adapt, somewhat to the Day-Timer's world.

  • Knowing how much sleep I need.  This is very important for the next bullet point.  I personally know I need a good solid 8 hours of sleep.  Even this does not make me pop out of bed like a Pop Tart, but it does help.  I have read that Night Owls tend to wake right after there peak hour of sleepiness and, thus, still have relatively high levels of melatonin in their system which leaves us (me for sure) feeling groggy when that alarm clock goes off. There's no getting around that as far as I can tell and I fight it every single morning. I hate it!

  • Go to bed at a specified time every single night. Select a time that allows you to get the amount of sleep you need.  As much as it's going to suck, you have to do it and stick with it.  For me, it's 10 pm.  And I don't mean go to be at 10:00 and read for an hour or even a half hour. Be in bed, trying to sleep at the time that you have calculated that will allow you to get enough sleep.  On the weekends, it is wise not to stray too far from your bedtime.  Midnight might be fine, but I do not allow myself to indulge in too many 2 am or later nights.  Late nights can be detrimental to the process.

  • No TV in bed. This has not been much of an issue for me in recent years because I've never been a fan of having a TV in my bedroom.  If I do, it's for daytime use only. Too much stimuli.  You're brain can't shut down with all that flashing and whatnot.  I'm prone to having weird dreams about whatever I have watched in bed so I try to eliminate it altogether.

  • Cut off the caffeine early and limit the intake.  I am a die-hard Mt Dew drinker so caffeine (and sugar) is ever-present in my life.  That being said, I typically limit myself to 1-20 oz Mt Dew per day and I finish it by 3 o'clock at the very latest on most days.  I used to be the person that would boast about how caffeine doesn't affect me.  Well, damn this 33 year old body, because it has started to affect me.

  • Leave those shades and curtains open.  For several years, I put dark blankets, sheets, towels or anything dark or heavy over my windows so I could get some freaking sleep!  That sun was a surefire disruptor to my most precious sleep hours.  I still do this from time to time when I really need some sleep, but only on rare occasion.  Letting the natural light in will help you wake up (even in the weekends people!).  As annoying as it may be, you may learn (as I have) to appreciate it...most of the time.  What I find hard living where I do, is there isn't always light at the time I need to wake up. If there were, getting out of bed wouldn't be nearly as difficult at 6 am.  I've considered buying one of the natural light/wake up clocks. I just haven't been able to justify the cost in my mind. I'd be interested to hear from people who might have them.

  • And the dreaded....exercise!  People, seriously, exercising is a pain. I know. I get it. But I swear on everything, when I'm exercising, I sleep 10 times better.  And I'm not talking a piddly thirty minute walk either. Those people that tell you that you can get fit in with a 30 minute walk make me insane.  Sure, if a person is severely heavy, 30 minutes will do a them wonders.  If you are average or even moderately overweight, you need more than a 30 minute walk. You need to tire that body out!  For light exercise, minimum of 45 minutes 4-7 days a week is what I think you need.  (I'm no personal trainer, I have no certifications. I speak solely from personal experience and research.) If you can do moderate to moderately hard exercise, you should opt for every other day or alternate some cardio days with strength-training days. Grab up some Jackie Warner DVDs or Jillian Michaels.  Grab a set of dumbbells.  If you are seriously having trouble sleeping, I really recommend wearing your body out with exercise.  

  • For me, exercise comes and goes. I do really well for a while and then I peter out.  I eventually get to a point where I don't sleep so well and I force myself back into it. It's a struggle.  I have a love/hate relationship with exercise.  I enjoy it when I do it and I feel good, but it's a hassle to schedule or find someone to commit to doing it with you. I get it. But no one will every motivate you but you. That's one thing I've learned.  So, it's up to you, but at least consider it.  Especially if you are a Night Owl and you are trying to force your body to change its natural clock. Seriously.
That's all I've got for now. None of them sound fun to the Night Owls. Trust me. I know! I hear you loud and clear.  I hate it. I hate forcing myself to go to bed at 10:00! Really??!!?!  I hate it! I am struggling with it right now because I'm in a new place and am surrounded by new people and new excitement around every bend. I'm highly distracted and would prefer to just enjoy my quiet time into the wee hours of the night.  And I have been backsliding and doing just that and it is not boding well for me or my already can't-help-but-be-tardy self at work.

These things have definitely helped me a ton in the past few years. I went from getting to work at 10:00 am or later to getting there around the time I'm really supposed to which is 8:00 am. I'm still late (that's a whole other issue, no?) and I still loathe getting up. I curse my alarm and the morning regularly. I still feel sluggish and sleepy-eyed.  I'm not saying you'll like it. I'm just saying that it helps adapt...a little the Day-Timer/Early Bird world.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Now We're Cooking...or not

 Photo courtesy K.I.T.

I have never really excelled at any one thing in life. I have always been good at many things, but never really good at any one thing.  How does the saying go? Jack of all trades, master of none.  That's me! 

There are several things that I would like to learn to do, but there is one thing on my mind at this moment.  Cooking!

It isn't that I can't cook. I can throw together a few things.  Nothing spectacular and probably nothing that I would ever feed people, but I get by.

Potlucks and events where I have to bring a passing dish are a nightmare.  I hate it. I never know what to bring. Growing up, I've always been the youngest and never had to really do any cooking or even bring a passing dish as an adult because I was the baby and I accepted my role graciously.  Now that I'm older and have come into a great group of friends, I'm a it embarrassed of my lack of cooking knowledge and experience.

Cooking just isn't something I understand. I usually tell people that I hate it, but the truth of the matter is that I just don't get it.  I'm actually obsessed with cooking shows, cookbooks, cooking blogs and cooking magazines. You should see the stacks of cookbooks and magazines I have. However, combine my lack of cooking knowledge with my lackadaisical ways and it makes for one pathetic cook.

I've always wanted to take some cooking classes. I want to understand cuts of meat. I want to understand flavors and how to combine them and make them work together. I want to understand textures. I want to know how to use a knife and how to actually chop something. Sure I can read about it, but remember I mentioned my lackadaisical ways? I'm lazy like that. I don't want to read about it. I've watched a few youtube videos on how to chop and mince, but it takes practice and without someone there with me to keep me practicing and to tell me what adjustments I need to make, it's not going to happen (ahem, lackadaisical. did I mention that?)

I grew up in the country and we pride ourselves on being meat and potatoes people.  In recent years, I've discovered that there is so much more and I want to experience those things, but I just don't understand them. Can someone please tell me what leeks are, what they taste like, how do you cook them, how do you clean them, and what do you do with them exactly?  I mean really?  And sure, I can read about that too, but I would do better with the hands on approach.

Cooking simply overwhelms me. So many things needs to be timed just so so that it all comes out together. When I look at a list of ingredients, I immediately become overwhelmed.  I really just want some guidance, some know-how, some practical application. Is that too much to ask?

Is it embarrassing to not know how to cook at 33 years of age? Is it embarrassing to sign up for cooking classes (if you can find them) at my age? Is it???

Maybe later, I'll address my desire for creativity and learning to sew.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Moving forward

Life has been a whirlwind since moving out on my own at the beginning of February.  I have been having so much fun that very little has been done to unpack boxes and organize my home.  I have spent time with my sister, evenings with friends, I've gone to parties, and spent a weekend in Traverse City.  I have also been talking to someone and spending some time with that person.  That last one isn't something that I have exactly gone public with, but I write it to share the self-discovery that I have had.

I have spent a great deal of time healing from a past relationship.  Never ever thinking I would fully get over it.  Meanwhile, I was in a relationship that wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.  I have always wanted to be in a relationship that made me feel as though I wanted to be a better person. I wanted a relationship where I could thrive and we, as a couple, could thrive together.  One that allowed for each others personalities and quirks.  One that appreciated the uniqueness of each individual.  A relationship where there is mutual respect and trust, communication, similar interests and interest in one another. 

The relationship that I just ended was so not any of those things.  What makes me angry, though, is that I didn't take notice. I mean, that's the point of all of the counseling that I've done. To be able to recognize when my needs are not being met, to know when something is unhealthy, yet I did not realize it fully until I was away from it.  In addition to that, more realization came when I met someone who treats me the way I want, need and deserve to be treated. 

What is also upsetting is that I am finding that I have insecurities that have developed over the past 2+ years due to someone else's insecurities or issues.  I am self-conscious about things based on allowing another person to project their ideas or issues onto me.

Let me give you an example so you can understand what I mean.

On some Saturdays, I love to lay around and be lazy. I like to stay in my pjs and not shower or put make up on or do my  hair.  I get up a minimum of five days a week and do my hour and a half morning routine and I get tired of doing it.  So I should be able to take a day off from that and just be myself, yes? 

Well, in this last relationship, there were comments about how his ex wouldn't get up and shower on a given day and he'd be like, "What the hell? Aren't you going to do something with yourself today?"  He wouldn't necessarily say it aloud, but he'd think it. He was also sure to tell me about it. Repeatedly.  And he'd jokingly (we know that most of what people say jokingly, there is usually some truth to, right?) make comments if he came home from work on Saturday and I hadn't gotten myself showered, dressed and made up.  Eventually, I began to feel the pressure of having to go through my morning routine seven days a week. This is not relaxing for me. It's stressful.  And I allowed this to take over.  I allowed this to happen. I didn't allow myself to be me nor was I with someone who was accepting of me.

What is wrong with this picture???

I am very frustrated with myself for having allowed myself to go through this. Again!  All I can do at this point is be more aware in the future.  Pay attention to my gut. Listen to what my inner voice is telling me.  Move forward. 

I just don't know how to listen to that inner voice. What advice do you have? How do you recognize that inner voice when it talks to you? How do you notice when something really isn't right? What am I missing?