Weekend of firsts

15 Sep

There were a lot of firsts this weekend.

I went to the north shore to see my friend JB and her husband. That was a first – I hadn’t been to visit them before. JB and I were friends in college – well, we knew each other in college. I don’t think we were close at all. But Facebook has changed that in recent years. We talk fairly often and she invited me up. And the north shore is always fun, so I figured why not.

I think the last time I was on the north shore was at least 10 years ago. I think the last time was when my ex-husband and I were up there probably in 2005? Or before? Craziness. It’s so beautiful there with fun things to do. Why has it been so long?

Anyway, I drove up Friday night after work. Last week at work was a crazy week. Between my regular job and my part-time job, I worked about 55 hours and didn’t get home before 8:00 any night. Needless to say, I was tired. But I knew we’d have a short weekend, so I figured how bad could it be?

Bad, but not as bad as it could have been. I was so tired. Just before I got to Duluth, I was focusing on how much I needed to focus on driving. Past Duluth, it’s a two lane state highway with zero lights. That was fun. Especially when the car in front of me turned off the road. So I had no one in front of me to be a guide. But I made it safe and sound and without accidents. Whew. But, another first…driving up there alone.

Saturday we went to Split Rock Lighthouse. Another first. I had never been there. And it’s kinda considered one of the top ten landmarks in the state to visit. So we toured the lighthouse – which involved for me a small panic attack about climbing into the actual lighthouse. It’s a spiral staircase. Open heights bother me – the sheer drop on one side makes me dizzy. But I couldn’t go down because there were people behind us. So I continued up. In the lighthouse, I was a bit dizzy but not too bad. My legs though hurt – I think all the muscles tensed up during the panic attack. And then we had to climb down. JB was awesome and supportive. I went slow and tried not to look down the left side.

Then we hiked. Confession: I don’t think I’ve ever been on a hike. I mean, I’ve been outdoors. But not walking and climbing on trails. There are 12 miles of trails at Split Rock; I have no idea how far we went. But you can see the lighthouse here:

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And we kept going after that and looped around back to the lighthouse.

Then we went back to JB’s house and canned. I’ve never canned before but have wanted to learn. So I was excited to learn! They canned a ton of crap every year – spaghetti sauce, salsa, pizza sauce, roasted tomatoes. I helped (kinda) with salsa and spaghetti sauce. And I feel like I learned enough to be able to try it on my own! Think of the money I could save – once I make the investment in equipment that is. Bonus: they sent me home with some salsa, spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce. Score!

Sunday we went to Tettegouche state park and did a short hike. Another first – I don’t think I’ve been to Tettegouche before. Stunning views of course:

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Lake Superior is so breathtaking. And awesome in the awe-inspiring sort of way. Those of you who live on or near oceans know this far better than I do. But Lake Superior is just to big, so majestic, so POWERFUL. I don’t think I could ever go on that lake. Especially after you hear about the shipwrecks.

Then sadly, I had to leave. Drove home by myself. I stopped at Betty’s Pies – another first! I have never eaten there. But I’ve heard so much about it that I had to stop. And the pies? Well worth the hype and then some! I got blueberry and Great Lake Crunch. I didn’t keep all of them though even though I wanted to. But they’re so good!! (OMG I just found out you can buy them online!)

So it was a great weekend. And I could feel myself relaxing the whole time. The tension in my shoulders and my headaches went away. Ahhhhhh. Of course, now they’re back. Boo.

I’m looking forward to going up there again soon – JB said she’d teach me to snowshoe!

Grateful for the weekend

7 Sep

*I had a migraine Friday night. (This is not what I’m grateful for.) Luckily I can catch them before they develop into a full-blown headache. But it still makes me want to lie on the couch in a dark room. But I’m grateful that I can take OTC medication for it and that I don’t get the full headaches anymore. (Please don’t let me have jinxed it.)

*I’m grateful to have a boss at my part-time job who understands health issues like that and allows me to reschedule my work. Thanks, WH!

*I’m grateful for friends who have coffee birthday gatherings and invite me. And let me bring a friend to crash it. It was so fun to meet everyone else and catch up for a bit. Thanks, JK!

*I’m grateful for having a friend like SP who is willing to go to the Renaissance Festival with me. And who laughs at the all the people with me. We always have a great time. Thanks, SP!

*I’m grateful for finding my friend ML at the festival who worked out there when I did 20 years ago and who still does. I haven’t seen him in probably 18 years. We lost touch and then he found me on Facebook. But it was so awesome to see him in person. And get the giant bear hugs from him again. He was the kindest person when I worked out there – always very welcoming. I have a soft spot for him (along with the other guys I knew out there: EC & MC). Thanks, ML!

*I’m grateful I was able to focus today and get a lot done. While not watching TV. It feels good to have accomplished so much! Thanks, brain!

For giggles…here’s me and MC while on duty…in 1996. How was that 18 years ago?!?

renfest

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.

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