Four days of positives

26 Aug

*TWO DANCE LESSONS!

*Last therapy appointment for a while.

*Another episode of “Outlander“.

*The State Fair with SP. Followed by a salad in air conditioning.

*Vacation day yesterday.

*Sick day today. Not a positive, but thank god for sick time.

*Chiropractors. I am now a believer.

*Fresh blueberries.

*National Dog Day. Which makes me miss my wondermutt.

First day we got Charlie

Does therapy end?

25 Aug

As you all know, I see a therapist. How often I see her depends on what’s going on in my life. Sometimes it’s every week, sometimes it’s once a month.

nuts
(I don’t think that ever happened.)

I saw her a few days after I moved. There were a lot of transitions going on then that I was nervous about. We scheduled a time for a few weeks after that, which I had to cancel. We rescheduled, and then she had to cancel. I saw her Saturday, which was about 6 weeks after I last saw her. Before my appointment, I was thinking what I wanted to talk to her about. And I realized – I didn’t have much to go over.

So we talked on Saturday about that. To her, it’s a good sign when patients start forgetting appointments or don’t have much to say. Almost every situation I talked to her about ended with “so I did this and this and it got better”. I have tools. I’ve learned that there are situations (like MOVING) that make me stressed and anxious, but I know how to get through them. There haven’t been any new situations or issues that I’ve really needed her guidance for a while.

But I know there will be. And I believe that everyone really could do therapy forever. The danger though is that therapy becomes a crutch, and a person doesn’t really learn how to with things on their own.

So does therapy end?

We decided yes, kinda. Because I don’t have much to say lately, I have and use good tools and self-talk for coping with situations, and I don’t want to give up my Saturday mornings, we decided to stop the regular schedule appointments. Well, I wasn’t entirely comfortable with that, so we’re going with every two months for now. (Of course, I can still call her and go see her if I need to in the meantime.)

But overall, it made me feel good. I’ve come a long way in the last 8-9 years. (Which is how long I’ve been seeing her.) I’m MUCH less anxious than I was when I starting seeing her. (For those of you who have met me in the last 5 years, you have no idea – this is less anxious!) I’m luckily to have found a therapist I really connect with. And I’ve worked hard to learn these new skills and tools to be able to cope. So YAY ME!

A week so bad, you can only laugh

24 Aug

The universe hated me this week.

*Sunday night, I forgot to set up my coffeepot. So no coffee Monday morning.

*Monday night, I remembered to set up the coffeepot, but I forgot that the timer had reset itself. So it brewed at midnight. No coffee Tuesday morning.

*Monday, I went home sick at noon because I had the worst stomach-ache. On my way home, I got my very first speeding ticket.

*I woke up Monday with a crick in my neck; I couldn’t look over my left shoulder. Which made washing my hair difficult. And the pain didn’t go away.

*Tuesday, I could look over my shoulder, but my neck and shoulders were so tight, they hurt. So I got a massage (first one in probably five years) thinking that would loosen me up. It didn’t. So I was cranky that I spent that money without it helping. (Although yoga helped a bit.)

*Wednesday, I spilled my coffee at work. Luckily I was able to move out of the way, otherwise I would have had a lap full of coffee.

*Payday was Wednesday. Every payday, I take out cash to use as my spending money for the next two weeks. At lunch that day, I went to the ATM. And forgot my PIN. After literally 16 years of having the same PIN (I know, I know), I just forgot it. Had to go to the bank to have them reset it. And after I did that, I remembered the PIN.

*Thursday, I accidentally erased some work on a spreadsheet I was working on. And in trying to do “Undo” numerous times, I screwed it up more and had to start over on the whole thing.

*Thursday, I read the FDA notice about the almond butter and peanut butter recall. They were recalled for possible salmonella contamination. Turns out, my almond butter was in that. It could explain why my stomach hurt all week and why it stopped hurting when I stopped eating the almond butter!

*Friday, I knocked over my coffee at work again. Luckily the lid was on so it didn’t spill.

cranky-pants

I was really cranky at the beginning of the week from all this, but by the end I had to just laugh. I mean, what else could I do?

Three things

22 Aug

*I finished a big project at work today. Nice to be able to check that one off my list.

*I stayed late at my part-time job to get ahead on some stuff. That means I’ll have more hours in my check, and therefore more money!

*I made great plans for this weekend to spend time with friends and my brother – plus my boss is making me take Monday off. Three-day weekend!

*I have central air conditioning. That is really the number one thing I’m thankful for today!

This is pretty much me on days like today:

air conditioning

 

Three things

21 Aug
  • I went to the coffee shop in the basement of my building at work this afternoon, and I realized my punch card was full. Free mocha for me!
  • I got some great news at work that made me really happy. I can’t share details yet, but I’m so excited.
  • My friend CS and I went to a coffee shop this evening, and she unexpectedly offered to buy.
  • A friend of mine at work sent me a T-Rex short-arms sign. Yep, those jokes still make me laugh.

t rex water cooler

Tough week = yoga

20 Aug

This week has been tough so far. Apparently the universe hates me this week. Or my biorhythms are just way off. Who knows. But I decided to do a bit of yoga when I got home to try and clear the brain and body.

I have a subscription to YogaGlo which is awesome. yoga galSo many videos to choose from, so many ways to filter. I chose a basic one for 30 minutes that focused on stress reduction. I’ve used yoga before for that and it’s always worked well for me. I haven’t been in a habit of it for the last year or so. I’m hoping to focus on getting back into it after I get running on a regular basis again. (One step at a time!)

A strange thing happened when I started it today. It sounds weird (although not if you do yoga)…I felt the energy moving. I felt it going into places in my body that have just been closed off and tense. I felt my breathing deepen – far deeper than it has been in a while.

And it’s made me realize a few things. One, yoga really helps me. Even 30 minutes helps me. And two, boy have I been stressed. You’d think running would beat a lot of that out of me but apparently not yet. So I think this weekend, I’m going make a list (yay lists!): what am I so stressed about? And what can I do each day to help counter that?

Besides cocktails, of course. ;)

manhattan-cocktail

Three things

19 Aug

After a tough day yesterday…

  • I got a massage today for the first time in 5 or 6 years
  • The cold brew coffee I made tasted so good!
  • I had a super productive day at work, and I have no meetings the rest of the week.

How terrible

12 Aug

I think everyone is still a little sad and shocked from yesterday. The death of Robin Williams is so tragic. There really are no words.

But people still try to say things. And the things that are pissing me off are the people who talk about his suicide as selfish and the people who talk about him not keeping a bit of the laughter he gave to others.

Clearly, these people are lucky to not have anyone in their lives that suffer from severe anxiety and/or depression. Because if they did, they would understand a little bit better and be a bit more sympathetic.

Depression lies. I’ve said it before, the Bloggess has said it before (and in a far better way than almost anyone can), Wil Wheaton has said it before, Allie has said it before. When you’re in a depths of an episode, you believe what your brain is telling you. And it’s not telling you the truth. And asking for help in that moment is the hardest thing to do. Even doing the one thing that could turn the downslide around seems impossible to do.

Selfish? No, what Robin Williams was not selfish. It was sad and tragic. My heart goes out to him that he felt nothing else could be done, that he felt so much pain that killing himself was the only way to end it.

Keep a piece of the laughter? Yes, he gave a lot of joy and laughter to others. But it’s not like he choose to not keep himself happy. This is an ILLNESS, people. When will our society start accepting mental illness as a real medical issue and start treating it as such?

I pray for his family and friends, all the people whose lives he touched. I pray that he now finds the peace that eluded him in life. I pray for anyone who has lost someone to this because this is probably bringing back all those feelings again. And I pray for anyone who is suffering from any sort of mental illness.

If you are one of them, like me and a lot of people I know, please get help. Call a professional if you can. Call the National Suicide Hotline. Call a friend. Even when nothing else seems possible, when all you can do is lie in bed and cry, please please please try to reach out to one person and say “I need you.”

And always remember, depression lies.

Takin’ the A train

9 Aug

The twin cities do not have a mass transit culture like Chicago or NYC have. We have a bus system, but most people who use it either don’t have a car or work downtown and don’t want to pay for parking. We used to have streetcars, but the cities took them out in the 60s. My parents talk about taking the streetcars when they were kids and through high school But they also talk about the ice wagons, so…

Anyway, a few years ago (maybe 5? 7? I don’t remember), they opened a light rail line between downtown Minneapolis and the airport/Mall of America. I’ve never used it. But this summer, they opened a new line between the two downtowns. green lineIt goes right through campus, and there’s a station about a 10 minute walk from my new place. But I still haven’t used it.

Until yesterday.

Why yesterday? Well, the MN Vikings are without a stadium right now while they rebuild theirs. And so they’re playing on campus for two years. No biggie, as I’m not usually at work on a Sunday. But they had a pre-season game last night at 7, and I knew traffic would be hell trying to get off campus after work. So I thought I’d take the train.

My friend SP doesn’t have a car and works downtown, so she is a mass transit expert. I made her kinda walk me through where to buy the tickets, etc. Which she was more than willing to do. So I felt like I knew what I was doing, even though it’s really not that complicated and I probably could have figured it out.

So I walked to the station – took about 10 minutes. I just missed one train, so I had to wait 10 minutes for the next. Poor timing on my part. Well, not poor timing – I just left later than I had planned on. When I got on the train, it was pretty empty. But it quickly filled, and by the time we got to campus, it was about 2/3 full. The ride took about 20 minutes. (Actually 23 minutes, if you’re curious.) I then had about a 10 minute (not even) walk to get to my office.

Here’s my big debate now: do I give up my parking contract and just take the train to/from work?

Pros:
Cheaper. About $35 less per paycheck.
Use way less gas each month.
Less wear and tear on my car which means less maintenance.
No traffic issues ever.
Pretty relaxing ride – very air-conditioned! And the stations have heat (in the winter).
More green – doing my part to help the environment.

Cons:
Less flexibility – can’t just leave and run somewhere after work.
Having to walk probably 15 minutes each way in whatever kind of weather we’re having. (Right now, my parking contract is in a garage that’s connected to my building by tunnels.)

Yep, can’t decide. I’ll probably try it a few more times, maybe in some icky weather, just to see how it feels. But if you have any opinions on it, let me know!

We all have that one thing…

5 Aug

We all have that one thing. You know, the thing we’re totally vain about? The one thing about ourselves that we love? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. For me, it’s my hair. It’s not GREAT hair – no hair modeling pictures or anything. But I have thick hair. That’s what most people comment on – that and the color but we’ll get to that. And for the thickness, that’s just good old genetics at work. But I get a lot of compliments on my hair – always have – and recently lots of people have been asking about my hair care routine. So here are my tips for hair aka what I do about my hair.

1. Get a good stylist. I go to Jennifer at Mezzanine Salon. She is fantastic! She knows me, she knows what I like, what I’ll put up with, how far to push me in changes…absolutely the best stylist I’ve ever had. She’s the one who convinced me that going brunette (from my natural color with blond highlights which is what I had) would look great. (My natural color is a dirty dishwater blond. I think? It’s been a while since I’ve seen it.) She’s been good at making small, palatable changes with my hair. And finally in January I realized that her changes were always good even if I was skeptical at first. (Because I’m proud of my hair and draw a lot of confidence from it, I’m always hesitant to change it.) And I trust her completely. So I let her know that the next cut and color were up to her. I had complete faith in whatever she thought was best. So we talked about it and in February, she cut off 6 inches and added red to the brunette. I love it! Since then, because then she was still a little nervous about how I’d take a major change like that, she’s added more red each time I color and some blond highlights that look better than they sound. So, bottom line…find a stylist you love and who understands you and your likes/wants.

You know how I’ve talked about how important it is to talk to your dance teacher? Same thing here…talk to your stylist. Jennifer lets me ask a ton of questions – what does this product do, how do I style that, I have this problem when drying my hair…it’s great. I try to tip well to compensate for all my questions.

2. Invest is good styling tools. I use a $20 hairdryer from Target, but I bought a professional grade flat iron and curling iron. Regular Target-type flat irons and curling irons just can’t compete with the thickness.

3. Use good product. Haircare is the one place I won’t go cheap; I buy salon brands. And after using salon brands for about 6 years, I can see a difference in my hair. It used to be big and kinda frizzy; I had to use a flat iron every day to try and tame it. (Not like 80s mall hair big – just poofy due to the thickness.) I’m a big believer in Bumble & Bumble products. They work for me and my hair.

4. Don’t wash your hair every day. Even the idea of that one was super hard for me to get used to. Until I went brunette and realized my color will last longer (and therefore I wouldn’t need to color as often) if I didn’t wash it every day. I wash it about every three days give or take. Except I do wash my bangs every day unless I’m pulling them back completely. They get greasy gross if I don’t.

So my routine…

*wash hair (B&B thickening shampoo – it’s not really to thicken my hair, it just means it’s not as heavy as others)

*use conditioner (B&B Super Rich conditioner – lots of moisture)

*spray on B&B Tonic

*rub two pumps of Moroccan Oil into the ends

*dry completely (or almost completely – it takes about 15 minutes to dry my hair completely so sometimes (often?) I get lazy and stop at “dry enough”).

*use flat iron.

*spray bangs with hairspray (B&B blue can)

On the non-wash days, I curl it with a curling iron to get some body and bounce and to hide the dirtiness. And on day three, it’s usually a ponytail or a bun.

Once a week I do a hair mask. I got out of that habit in the last year or so, because it’s awkward to live with someone and walk about in a hair mask. Brings the vanity to the forefront. Especially awkward when the person you’re living with has no hair due to cancer. I used to use the B&B Quenching Masque. But it got expensive for me (I have to use a lot due to the thickness of my hair). So I started using coconut oil, which works almost better. Wash hair but leave out conditioner, rub about 3 tablespoons into the ends, wrap in a towel, let sit for 30-120 minutes. I leave it almost two hours. I usually just watch a movie while I’m waiting. Then wash as normal.

So there you go! For those of you who have asked, that’s what I do. And I am by NO MEANS an expert. I just have listened and learned over the last six years. So now I sound like I know what I’m doing.

(And did any of us ever think we’d see the day where I was talking about something about myself I’m proud of??? Oh how far we’ve come…)

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