Stray Thoughts Sunday

I’m back this Sunday (how is it already Sunday?!?  I only have exactly one week of Spring Break left now!!!) for some more of my Stray Thoughts.  Hope you enjoy them.  Please share your Stray Thoughts in the comments or by linking to a post of your own!

Stray Thought #1 – Loss is hard.  

This week was my mom’s birthday week.  For those of you who have not followed this blog, I lost my mom about a year and a half ago.  She was very sick for a very long time, so that made her passing a bit easier as it was a relief of sorts.  But, I still think about calling her multiple times a day.  I still think about all the things she would have loved to hear about with my daughter and how much she would have enjoyed the school play this year.  No matter how much of a relief, loss is hard.  Most of the time, I think she sees it all from her place up above and is laughing and enjoying it more from there, free from the pain and suffering and anxiety she had here on Earth.  But, it is still hard to be without that contact. Miss you and love you Mama!

Stray Thought #2 – Biopsies are hard, too.  

This week is my DD’s annual heart biopsy to check for any problems with her transplanted heart.  She used to have these on an even more frequent basis, but now (thankfully) it is only once a year.  She stresses out about it quite a bit. She doesn’t really say anything, but she gets moody and cries easily about things that would otherwise not make her cry.  She seems tired, but really she is anxious.  She doesn’t know how to tell the difference at this point.  She had a bit of a meltdown last night before bed and told me she didn’t want to do the biopsy.  It made me cry, because I would give anything to be able to say, “you know what, let’s just not do it then!”  I’m not one to let her quit things, but this thing, I would be happy to let her quit.

It isn’t horrible.  It is same-day.  We arrive early in the morning, check in, get all the vitals done, go to the pre-op, she gets Versed (which has been a source of problems and as ironically as it seems, is the anxiety prevention med that gives her as much anxiety as the biopsy), we roll down a loooooooooong hallway as the Versed takes effect and we leave her at the door of the OR.  We go and eat and hang out, hoping the whole time that everything is looking good and going well, but not really knowing.  About an hour later, we get called back to the family waiting room, talk to the doctor, and then a short time later, get called into the post-op area to see her and deal with her as she wakes up, scared and angry, from the anesthesia.  Once she has woken up and has received an EKG and Echocardiogram and seems to be doing okay, we get sent up to the Short-stay Unit, where we do our best to keep her from moving around too much (which is hard most of the time…she has to lay flat and hates it) and she gets to eat a little something.  We then get released about eight or nine hours after we arrived and we drive the four hours (often in horrible Bay Area traffic) back home.

It is exhausting, stressful and annoying.  We are heading down on Tuesday to stay the night by Half Moon Bay and go tide pooling and eat good food and try to enjoy ourselves despite knowing what is coming the next day.  It is our thing we do.  Distraction.  My in-laws are coming up from the Central Valley to do the whole thing with us (which is amazingly kind of them, but is also stressful in some ways – I feel somewhat responsible for making sure they don’t have a miserable time despite it being a miserable time).

We will get through it.  All of us.  We always do.  But, I must admit that it is not something I’m looking forward to.  Not at all.

Stray thought #3 – I’m thinking of writing a book.

There, I said it out loud.  Well, wrote it out loud, in black and white.  I haven’t got it all figured out yet, but it is the first time I feel like I have something I could realistic start AND finish.  I’m not sure about doing it all quickly, but I am excited at the prospect.  We shall see.

Stray thought #4 – Blogs, blogs and more blogs.

There are so many amazing blogs out there.  I’m a little overwhelmed by all of them.  I will share some of my favorites in the coming weeks!  But, I’m trying to make this one a little better and a lot more successful this “year”.  By which I mean, this month until March of next year (because I didn’t really get started on this seriously until this month).

My last Stray Thought this week – Spring Break is awesome.

I am very excited to NOT have to go teach tomorrow.  I am very excited to be able to read, clean my house, organize my thoughts, and not feel like I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off to accomplish all the crazy amount of things I have to accomplish each and every week.

So…what about you?  What are your stray thoughts this Sunday?!?

Five Minute Friday #1, 2017 – Connect

I am joining in for the first Five Minute Friday of 2017!  I’m excited to get started writing more consistently this year (and hopefully building my blog into something “more” as well) and Five Minute Friday is always a great exercise with a wonderful community along for the ride.  This week’s prompt is “Connect”.


Here goes:

Well.  I am finding it somewhat difficult to connect to the prompt connect.  I’m just not sure where to go with it.  A lot comes to mind.  Connecting with others.  Making connections in my life.  Connecting the dots.  But, none of it is really driving me to write about it.  So, I guess I’ll write about how sometimes, it is difficult to connect with other people and things and that it is okay for that to be the case.  We would not appreciate the times when connections were strong and meaningful if those types of connections were constant and consistent.

I often have problems making close friends for example.  I just don’t connect with others as much as I would like.  And it isn’t for lack of trying.  But, when I do find someone I connect with, I feel it strongly and that connection is there whether we are spending a lot of time together or just a few minutes here and there.  I feel the same about entertainment and activities.  I don’t often feel strong connections with TV shows or movies or exercise programs.  Others seem to find something and really connect with it and loooooove it.  But, I don’t as often.  I connect with things from my past more than anything else.  Perhaps that is where I have my strongest connections – to my past.

That’s it.  I feel that this week was tough.  I’m not sure why.  It has been a long and somewhat stressful day (although I didn’t do much).  My DD is not feeling well.  And although she isn’t feeling horrible either, she did start running a fever tonight and with her past, I seem to be in a bit of a PTSD anxiety attack.  It isn’t horrible either.  I’m not panicked or anything, but I do feel a bit of trepidation about planning and what is going to happen.  In all reality, she will probably get better in a couple of days, without any complications.  We went to the pediatrician today and her lungs sounded good, she had nothing in her ears, her throat didn’t look too bad and she was negative for strep.  So, all good signs, but then she spikes a fever.  It just makes me wonder what is going on in that little body of hers.  And, in reality, it is probably nothing but a normal 7 year old virus that is running its course.  But, in a heart transplant recipient, it doesn’t ever seem like a virus or illness is normal or can just simply run its course without some concern.

So, I’m watching what I connect with – Poirot – on Netflix.  I’m waiting for the coming “Storm of the Decade” here in California, which should be hitting any time now.  I’m intermittently cleaning and organizing and purging.  I’m looking forward to a weekend of quiet and catching up and preparing for Spring 2017.  My DD is supposed to go back to school on Monday.  We will see how she is feeling.  But, I don’t have to worry because I’m not working next week!  We are scheduled to go to heart clinic on Tuesday, but with the illness/fever happening this weekend and the storm of the decade hitting, I think we will be rescheduling that.  So, that sets us up for a relatively quiet week ahead as well.  I can connect with that…

Tired but Wired

This is often my state of mind.  “Tired but Wired.”  I should make t-shirts.

So, what does this mean.  Well, I’m exhausted most of the time.  I work a job and a half (well, really a job and three quarters).  I take care of most of the household chores on a day-to-day basis.  I manage appointments and scheduling because I am the one with the busy schedule.  I don’t want to paint my DH out to be lazy.  He has a couple of jobs, but those jobs are long distance and highly intense for short bursts of time.  They are also jobs that I would say suffer from Parkinson’s Law – so, given deadlines, the work would be done in less time, but because it is often done without near-term deadlines, it expands to fill a lot of his time.  My job is more defined – I have teaching hours, office hours and then hours that I spend doing grading, prep, etc. but those are when I can fit them in.  My job suffers a bit from Parkinson’s Law as well.  So, we’re both working at home quite a bit.  Too much, in fact.

So, anyways, I am often feeling exhausted from everything I’ve had to do in a day AND staring down the barrel of a to-do list that is far too long to ever complete in the time provided for it.  I feel behind quite a bit of the time.  I often struggle with what I should be doing.  For example, right now, there are three loads of laundry piled up in our living room needing to be folded and put away, a load of dishes to unload from the dishwasher and more dishes waiting to go in, a mess on the dining room table to that needs to be dealt with (thrown away, put away, etc.) AND a pile of grading in my work bag that is late being handed back.  I currently can’t locate my video camera that has some presentations on it I need to grade.  I have an iPad that needs to be restored to make it functional.  And my in-laws are coming for the weekend and their bed in the guest room needs to be made.  I need to clean the bathrooms.  The list goes on and on.  And this is not unique.  This is my daily operating.  And that list of things makes me WIRED.  I feel tense and anxious and like I need to be constantly DOING.  But, I’m also TIRED.  Yesterday was my 13 hour day (with one two hour break in there) and I have a headache and my back hurts and I just want to curl up with a TV show and recover.  But, I teach in three and a half hours and I volunteer in my DD’s classroom in an hour.  And…and…and…

So, yeah, I ‘m both tired and wired.  I’m exhausted but anxious.  And I feel a little stuck.  I do have summer coming in a month.  During summer, I am mostly wired.  I get bored easily and feel like I NEED to be doing things.  But, I also don’t get much done.  It is a strange set of circumstances.  But, this summer, I plan to be more purposeful in REST and in WORK.  So, I’m going to plan times for both. I need to work on a course redesign I got a grant for and I have a few other projects I would like to get done during the summer.  But, I also realize that I need to have some DOWN time.  When I’m not working on anything.  When I can just decompress.  Sleep.  Relax.  Read.  Enjoy.  If I am not purposeful about that, the summer will be gone and I will still feel just tired and wired.  I want to feel rejuvenated and purposeful instead.  It isn’t quite as poetic, but it sure would feel better.

Six Word Saturday –

Joining up with Six Word Saturday this week.

Travel hopes are high.  No Whammies!

This weekend I am getting ready for a trip to Indiana with more students than I’ve ever taken before.  The logistics for the trip are like an LSAT problem and I’m dealing with some anxiety over the trip (as I always do, but with 20 people traveling, the stakes seem higher this time).  Last year at this same tournament, I had the worst trip I’ve ever had.  Two hotel issues (that were totally my doing), a problem with the advance (again, my doing)…I guess that was all but that was enough to scar me.  Luckily, I was only traveling with two students, so the problems were easy enough to deal with.  With 20, that would definitely not be the case.

So, I’ve been trying to double and triple check all the plans, but I still feel totally anxious.  I have not been sleeping great and I have a ton of grading and cleaning and such to do before I leave on Wednesday morning VERRRRRRY early (like 3 am early).

That’s the other part of this equation.  My husband is currently in FL for work.  He will get back around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night.  I will leave at 3 am on Wednesday morning.  We did this same thing last year (tournament schedules are usually very similar year-to-year), but last year was when all hell broke loose with my DD’s meds and we switched to pills and she wouldn’t take them for me and then I left and my DH got her to take the meds fine but when I got back she started having these horrible anxiety attacks about school.  It ended up being her med levels because of the switch from liquid to pills, but the whole experience with the traumatic days leading up to my departure with the pills, then the problems while I was traveling, then coming back to these horrible anxiety attacks…it is making me even more anxious about this year.  Sigh…

So, in a way.  This year HAS to be better.  Right?

Tuesday Truth – Anxiety vs. Reality

Today’s truth is a big one.  And one I need to be reminded of quite often:

Life is not as bad

They say anxiety runs in a family.  I’ve spoken before on the blog about my mom’s anxiety.  My husband also suffers from anxiety and has since he was little.  My daughter is definitely showing signs of it.  I don’t have much of an issue with anxiety, but every once in a while, I do work myself into a lather about one thing or another and convince myself that things are bad, bad, bad.  It often causes me to put off doing what I can about the situation, which, of course, only prolongs the suffering on my end.  But, over and over again, I’ve found that life is not really as bad as we can make it out to be in our minds.

I am someone who tends to the optimistic.  I try to give people the benefit of the doubt until they give me reason not to and I try to envision that good things will happen rather than bad.  But, there are some times that I just get fixated on something being horrible.  Often it is something that has resulted from some procrastination on my part and I have just let it get bigger and bigger in my mind.  At some point, I start to believe that the worst is the only possible result.  When I finally get around to acting on those things, I often find that the reality is much different, and better, than I had produced in my mind.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that life is not nearly as bad as we can make it out to be in our minds.  In fact, it is often much, much better.  If I can keep that in mind at all times, I think I will let go of a lot of my procrastination.  And if I can model that behavior for my DD, perhaps she will be able to do the same.  Life is so much better when we do SOMETHING even if it isn’t perfect.  If we are waiting for perfection or postponing out of fear, we will end up missing out on things or causing ourselves worse problems.  I need to remember this truth when I’ve worked myself into a frenzy.

So, what’s your Tuesday Truth today?

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Today has been a relatively good day, but I am struggling with the amount of clutter around my house.  I unloaded a HUGE bag of stuff and another smaller bag of stuff at the thrift store this morning, but it seems a little overwhelming every time I start to think about the volumes of stuff I have to get rid of.  I am selling a few things on Ebay.  We’ll see how that goes.  Ebay is sometimes good for me and sometimes a waste of time.  And I don’t predict very well what is one or the other.  So, it is like rolling dice in a craps game for me.  But, at least I have five more weeks of summer (!) before I have to be totally ready to go for Fall.  But, that seems like a really short amount of time!

Stray Thought Sundays

Childhood Anxiety:  My daughter is starting to show some signs of her anxiety coming back.  I’m really hoping that first grade is not going to be miserable.  She cried before Sunday School today and she LOVES Sunday School.  But, she’s had some fevers and been feeling bad because she is getting her sixth molar.  In addition, her favorite Sunday School teacher was not there this morning.  She ended up going after a good cry and was fine, but it is symptomatic of her anxiety coming back.  So, I’ll have to look into some strategies for dealing with it before her first day of first grade hits.

Race in America:  I have an interest in race issues and diversity since doing a few workshops dealing with the issue at my University.  I’ve come across a couple of really great articles this week that do a good job of explaining the complexity of issues from a personal viewpoint, so I will share them here in case anyone is interested.  The first, Black Exhaustion by Pilot Viruet.  The second, I, Racist by John Metta.

Gratitude is an attitude:  And I feel like my daughter is lacking it a bit these days.  She has had a SEVERE case of the Gimmes lately and despite the diagnosis being clear, the treatment is little less obvious.  She also was not incredibly nice to my mom when we spent the 10 days with her.  I realize that my mom’s emotional instability and hard time hearing is confusing to my daughter, so I often give her the benefit of the doubt.  But, I had to talk to her a couple of times about being nicer to her Grandma.  It was really eye opening for me and I feel like I need to do some serious changes based on these two things (Gimmes and lack of concern/love for others).  So, I plan to do some research and talk to others because in all honesty, I just don’t think I know what to do.  My talks get through in the short term, but the impact doesn’t seem to last long.

YouTube “unboxing” videos are evil:  Have you seen these videos?  There are entire channels that do nothing but open up toys on them.  Continuously.  New toy after new toy after new toy.  Some feature kids, but others are actually JUST adults.  Adults.  Opening toys.  Over and over again.  And they are on the YouTube for kids.  I am seriously thinking about pulling the cord on the iPad for my DD specifically because she can not get enough of these “unboxing” videos and I think it gives her a false expectation that there should always be something NEW to OPEN.  Sigh… I finally told her today that she could play with the iPad but could not watch YouTube because of this.  She was reluctant and it did cut the iPad session short.  Which was fine.  But, it is tough.  Anyone else have kids that love these channels?  I feel like Pandora’s box has been opened and I can’t close it up again.

Five Minute Friday – Good


I am participating in Five Minute Friday again!  I can do anything for five minutes.  Right?  So can you!  Write for five minutes on this week’s word:  GOOD and then link up over at Heading Home!

——->  GO!

So, this week’s topic, “Good” is kind of an obvious connection to this Friday being Good Friday.  But, I’m going to skip the holiday/Holy day connection and just focus on “good”.

I am spending the weekend with my mom again who is in hospice care.  She isn’t terribly ill (not like my Dad was when he was in hospice care), but she has a lot of pain (cancer) and even before this she suffered from a lot of anxiety and depression.  It is so hard sometimes to be around her because everything is so negative and although I know that is just her depression and anxiety speaking a lot of the time and that she has no control over it necessarily, it reminds me how important it is to recognize the good when you find some.  Sometimes it is but just a grain of sand on a beach of “bad” or suffering, but that grain can make all the difference in the world to the person who is able to find it and take it and hold on to it for dear life.  I guess I can sort of tie this in the Holy day connection, because that is basically what Easter is all about – finding the good in the tragic circumstances of the crucifixion.  Recognizing that from all this pain and suffering would come good and grace.  That hope against all hopes.

So, I’m going to try to start focusing on the good in my life more.  I’m going to try not to complain as much.  I’m going to try to focus on the grain of greatness instead of the sea of suffering.


There you have it!  I hope you’ll link up and join the write-in over at Five Minute Friday!  🙂

Tuesday Truth

tuesday truth

This week’s truths are a few:

Anxiety and depression are depressing.  I think I’ve said here that my mom went into hospice care in late January.  Although they have tried a couple of different drugs and started her on another one this week, her anxiety and depression are pretty severe right now.  She will call me crying about things that are obviously nothing to worry about, but that are driving her crazy.  The meds are giving her tremors (or maybe she is just getting them due to weakness?) and she is constantly depressed about that.  It is difficult to talk to her and now I’m going to spend the weekend there this weekend.  I honestly think this may be the last Easter she is alive, so I feel like its important to spend time with her when I can.  In addition, me staying there allows her to go without paying for 24 hour care for the time I’m there, so it saves her around $700 since she pays a little over $200 a day for care.  Finally, it just makes her feel more comfortable.  Not happy.  Not at peace.  But, more comfortable.  So, why not?  It certainly isn’t going to be a joyful weekend, but it will is important to do.

Memory is a crazy thing.  Realizing that our six year old has no recollection of things that happened when she was three or four years old, because those memories are so vivid in my own memory.  Tonight we were reading Yoko by Rosemary Wells (she is a huge Max and Ruby fan currently) and I told her that Rosemary Wells also wrote Noisy Nora, which she watched on DVD from the library over and over and over when she was three and four.  She had no recollection.  She used to laugh and laugh whenever Nora knocked anything over.  We found the video online and watched it again and she did not find it nearly as funny, nor did she remember it at all.  I’m not surprised because I don’t have any memories before the age of five and then there are only a few memories when I was five or six or seven.  I don’t really have complete memories until the age of eight or so.  But, it is strange to actually watch those memories disappear for her.  Interesting article about childhood memory and who remembers more of childhood and what influences it.  Turns out, I’m pretty normal.

That’s all I have for today.  There are more truths, but I don’t have time or energy tonight to talk about them.  Enjoy these – and comment with any truths you have for today!

Tough Tuesday…

Today is not a great day.  It started off with a poor night of sleep (waking every two hours or less starting at 2:15 a.m.), then my daughter threw up in the car on the way to preschool.  Normally, I wouldn’t be too worried (and I probably still should not be), but she has been complaining of headaches the past couple of days and also complained of her stomach hurting this morning.  It is probably nothing (and so far seems to be), but it is still just something that weighs on me.  In addition, I am behind in grading and catching up is proving difficult as usual (grading is always the worst thing about teaching for me…I just can’t motivate myself to stay with it for long periods of time).  I am also feeling that post-Spring Break let-down.  I always feel like the Spring semester goes on for so long after Spring Break and sometimes it is difficult to face that long, drawn out time period.  Finally, my husband left for an eight day work trip this morning, so I’m on my own for another week. And that is also exhausting to think about.

It is exhausting.  I feel like my life is exhausting again.  I feel like I go through these cycles…I feel overwhelmed and anxiety-ridden and tired.  Then I start to feel like I get a grip on things.  I get the house cleaned up.  I get somewhat caught up in work (or a semester ends).  I feel on top of things.  Then, within a very short time, I’m back in the pits again.  I am not sure exactly what to do about it.

So, here I am. I guess we’ll see what tomorrow brings.  Perhaps I can get out of the hole before long.