Life Updates

Patience is a Virtue

William Langland said that in a poem in the 14th century and we still say it today.  So, it has stood the test of time.  But, it doesn’t mean it is easy to uphold that virtue.  I guess it is defined as “moral excellence”  for a reason.  Tonight, I am a bit short on that virtue.  I am typically a very patient person, but at times, I reach a level of frustration and anxiety and tension that makes me want to scream.  I have reached that level tonight.  And for no real good reason at all.  Overall, today was a good day.  A long day, but a good day.

We drove to my sister’s house last night and stayed the night, allowing us to get up at 4:45 this morning instead of 3:30 a.m. to get to Bean’s heart clinic appointment in Stanford by 7:15 a.m.  My sister was nice enough to go with us, so we got to use the carpool lane and we made it a little bit early even.  The appointment went really well.  All looked good.  I was surprised to learn that her pacemaker is pacing her upper half of the heart 22% of the time and her lower half 9% of the time.  In all honesty, I thought it might just be a precaution and it wouldn’t pace very often if at all.  But, it is pacing almost one quarter of the time!  It is set at 70, so dropping into the high 60s will cause it to pace.  But, still.  A little surprising.  The doctor also said that a transplant may be done before a valve replacement if the right side of the heart becomes overwhelmed by the regurgitation.  So, there’s that on my mind.  Hell, my tension and lack of patience tonight may all be part of a little PTSD that kicks in even when we hear good news, because it often is followed up with disconcerting news (pacemaker is working great and Bean’s health looks great, BUT it is having to be used 22%/9% of the time; the regurgitation does not seem to be increasing or causing her heart issues, BUT it could get worse and could require another open heart surgery for either a valve replacement or a second transplant).  It is a lot to take.  I want to be happy, but it is also tempered.  I’m also exhausted.

In addition, I am feeling overwhelmed again.  I feel like everything in my life happens just a little later than I need it to.  I feel like I wanted so much more done at this point – on my housecleaning and organizing, on my class prep for Fall (good Lord, it starts in just four short weeks), on my finances, on my life in general.  My DH comes home in three days after being gone for five weeks and I feel like I’ve accomplished little-to-nothing.  My birthday is on Sunday and I’m feeling like I don’t even want to celebrate.  I realize this is probably temporary and things will look better when I get up tomorrow and I’ve slept longer and better than last night, do not have to face medical appointments and have two days to get some things done (well, three really because my DH doesn’t come home until Saturday night pretty late).  I need to be productive, not procrastinating. I need to get my #!*^ together.

But, I also feel overly tired and lacking in energy and motivation.  What do you do when it all seems a little overwhelming?  I would love to hear some ideas.  I only have a few more days until my Year of Fun kicks off and I need to get over this feeling of BLAH and FRUSTRATION in order to really have some fun.  I know part of it is probably diet and lack of exercise and who knows what else…

Motivational Mondays

Motivational Monday -First Week of Summer Plan

That’s right, summer is here!

summer-time-1405961228GHz

This first week of my summer break is sure to be full, though.  Today is Memorial Day and it is our first day of 100s in a while, so we’re probably staying inside for the most part.  I’m still cleaning and grading and grading and cleaning.

Tomorrow is the end-of-school-year field trip to a local park and I’m driving/chaperoning.  So, three hours will be taken up doing that.  I also have some clean up work I need to do at work, so I will go do that between field trip and pick up time (an hour and a half or so).  Wednesday, I scheduled the dog for a bath, flea treatment, etc. at Noon while DD is at school.  Thursday is the last day of school, so DD gets out at Noon and we’re having her friend over for a sleepover (we did one last year with her as well).  So, I’m trying to figure out what to do with them for 24 hours (Noon is early!).  We are thinking Round Table for dinner and probably some sprinklers since it is going to be hot, maybe a movie…we’ll see.  Friday, we leave for our mini-vacation to Monterey for our pre-hospital enjoyment.  Monday is pre-op in the morning and then Tuesday is pacemaker placement surgery.  Then, hospital for four to seven days (or so they say).

We went to the library yesterday and loaded up on books (I got three, DD got five and has already finished one).  We are also reading the Wizard of Oz together (and that should take a while) and we got the Barnes and Noble classics with five novels in it, so we may just continue on through the four other Oz novels after we finish the original.  I need to get the house clean and type up a list of things the house/pet-sitter needs to do before Friday.  I have filled in my summer calendar with the Dollar movie choices (lots that my DD would like to see), my trip to San Diego for my grant workshop (and DD will stay with my in-laws in Bakersfield, so we’ll drive down and maybe stay a couple of days after), some Michael’s craft workshops, two different art camps, one ice cream camp, one cooking camp, a camping trip with friends…so, we have a full summer planned already!  It is strange to be able to make summer plans because the past three or four summers I have been dealing with a sick parent and the need to be flexible.  This summer, I only have to worry about DD’s recovery, which should be relatively easy (fingers crossed).  It will prevent swim lessons until more towards the end of summer, but I might just go back to enrolling her during the Winter at our swim school to insure she knows how to swim safely by her 8th birthday and can maybe do summer swim team next year.  I will probably try to spend some weekends helping my sister with my parent’s house that she has been doing a ton of work on to get it ready for sale as well.

So, overall, I’m happy summer is here, I’m happy to have a plan and I’m looking forward to the next 10-12 weeks or so!

What about you?  Do you have summers off?  Are you planning anything fun and/or exciting?

Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Expect

I’m joining Five Minute Friday again this week.  I missed it last week.  I almost did it a couple of days late, but decided not to.  I like the idea of doing it ON Friday.  This week’s topic is “Expect”.  Join in if you would like to be part of a supportive community with great messages to share!

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

So, here goes:

I have high expectations for myself and my life.  I often over estimate what I’ll be able to do or get done in a certain amount of time.  I often have expected that things will come easily for me (because many things have in the past).  But, life is not so simple or easy and I often find myself coming out the other side disappointed.  It has not yet caused me to change my expectations though.  I somehow stay optimistic (perhaps unrealistic?) in hopes that even those things that didn’t come easily for me will still come.  I still expect that I will be able to accomplish what I need to accomplish, even if it takes longer than I thought it would originally.

Part of this “positivity” is my optimism.  Part of it is hope.  Part of it is that I realize expecting little doesn’t do much for my motivation or my drive.  So,  I would rather have high expectations and fall short than have low expectations and not have tried for something better.  Part of the positivity is based on the fact that I have had such huge blessings in my life, how could I not recognize where things have come more easily to me than to others (Bean’s heart is one thing that always comes to mind…we waited such a short time and we’ve been so lucky with her health since).

So, I expect…not necessarily “the best” but definitely good things to happen and for me to be able to do what I truly need to do when I truly need to do it.  So far, thank the Lord, I have been allowed to experience that, for the most part.  So, yes, I have had a rough seven years or so, with my parents’ illnesses and Bean’s illnesses, but things could have been so much worse.  And most of the time, I think I was pretty consistently thinking that things would be better, not worse.  I wasn’t always right about that, but the thoughts kept me sane.


That’s it for this Five Minute Friday!  Join up!  I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday – The Other Side of Fear

other side of fear

Yes.  Everything I want IS on the other side of fear.  On this Easter day, I realize that I need a little resurrection of my own.  Resurrection of some dreams and goals and aspirations.  I’ve been doing pretty good for the past decade.  I am extremely happy that I made the choice to come here when the job opened up almost 10 years ago.  I love where I live and I have had a great experience in my job.  But, I’ve become comfortable and I’ve avoided taking opportunities for more when they’ve come along the past few years.  The Community College by me has had three jobs in the past six years and I’ve applied for none of them.  When I originally finished my Masters program, teaching at Community College was what I wanted to do.  But, when this job came along, it was a good compromise.  There was no “tenure” to be had, but it was stable in a good program with good funding, and it was my alumni program.  I make decent money and I don’t have an overload of teaching responsibilities.  So, I have resisted change.  I’ve made a lot of excuses – my parents’ illnesses, my daughter’s illnesses, health insurance concerns (legitimate in our situation, but after looking into it, seems to be pretty equal), retirement concerns (again, legitimate, but seems pretty good).  And because of these, I’ve given up what could have been six years of consistent raises – instead of I’ve received one raise in the past nine years and we may be going on strike next month, so things are looking good for future raises either.  And even if I get the raises we’re striking for and the one I applied for, it would still be a ceiling for many years to come.

In addition, I am in a position where although I have a lot of stability, I am not a “regular” faculty member.  I do not really feel part of a professional community.  And that takes its toll.  Especially when things get stressful or I want to try new things or I just want to be able to talk shop with someone.  I don’t have that where I am.  And without a change in position, I will not have it.

So, I’m taking a leap.  I am applying for the fourth job at the local Community College.  It is another year where I have plenty of excuses NOT to – my DD’s pacemaker placement is stressful and could interfere with interviewing.  We have a strike coming up possibly, which will also wreak havoc on my semester possibly.  So, I could have easily passed up the opportunity with my usual “it just isn’t the right time”.  But, you know what.  It IS the right time.  And although it may not happen, it is an opportunity I need to at least step up to and take a chance.  So, here goes.

We had a friend visiting this weekend and she said she had made 2016 the year of saying yes for her.  She said she says yes to opportunities unless there is a really good and important reason to say no.  I have kind of been on the opposite focus lately.  But, I think I need to say yes to opportunities that COULD BE really good and important to my future.  And this is it folks.  So, I’m stepping out and doing it.  Wish me luck.  I can’t say I’m feeling totally confident in my decision at this point.  But, I feel confident that I will regret NOT doing it.

 

Simplicity Sunday

Nothing is Routine…Simplicity Sunday

I’ve spoken before about how much of a problem I have maintaining a routine.  I have come up with many, many rationalizations as to why I have an issue.  But, really, it comes down to self-discipline.  But, man do I pay the price for that lack of discipline.  Right now, for example, I can point to the intense amount of cleaning I had to do over the last two days, the misbehaving dog (who really, really needs to exercise), my exhaustion (due to not eating right and not exercising), a 7 yo DD who has no real routine in her life either and struggles with that a bit, food that has gone bad because I didn’t make it in time, forgotten tasks, etc.

SIMPLIFY JANUARY 2016

So, I once again want to get a routine together and implement it on a regular basis.  I feel like it would mean a lot to do it now and have it in place for a couple of weeks before we have to have my DD’s surgery.  Often, when we come home from the hospital, things are just completely out of whack for weeks.  But, if we have a routine set up and then can come back to it, I think it would help immensely.  Because, in our lives, nothing is routine.  But we are in desperate need of routine.

So, we’re going to try it again.  I have a lot to do everyday.  But, here are some things I want to happen everyday:

  • Walk the dog for 20-30 minutes (it would make a huge difference for the dog and probably a huge difference for me…I could listen to a podcast everyday during that time).
  • Unload/load the dishwasher
  • Do a load of laundry from start to put away
  • Feed and water the animals (dog, cat and guinea pigs)
  • Make meals – breakfast and dinner (sometimes lunch)
  • Do something active with my DD (not like sports active, but play a game, do a craft, etc.) for 30 min to an hour
  • Shower, do hair, makeup and such – I really should do this everyday, but I don’t.  I think I would feel much better about myself if I did all these on a regular basis.  I just kind of let myself go and then I end up feeling horrible because I look horrible and have not woken myself up fully, etc.
  • 10-15 min pickup everyday (although, I really want to work on all of us putting things away when we are done with them – it is now my mom mission for March).

Now, I don’t have to do all these myself.  And when I list it out, it doesn’t seem like much.  In addition to these, I want a list of chores to do throughout the week so they get done, but they don’t need to be done daily.  Things like vacuuming, changing the beds, cleaning the bathrooms, etc.

The routines are printed out (mine, my DD’s and a daily/weekly household one).  I’m going to post them and go to bed early to read (okay, really play Candy Crush, but I may run out of lives and end up reading for a bit) and be ready for tomorrow’s first task – walking the dog!  I’m going to lay out her leash and choker chain and my clothes and just DO IT!  I’m tired of lacking in doing what I know needs to be done.  Wish me luck!

January Focus, Monthly Focus 2016

Welcome 2016 – January Focus = Simplify

I’m back from my trip and it was a great time.  I will probably have some pics this week on Wordless Wednesday.  I’m now settling in to a house where it looks like Toys R Us and Bags n Boxes have exploded multiple times and filling in my calendar for January in my new Erin Condren planner (which I love so far) and noting that it is already filling up quite a bit.  So many things for my DD’s school, workshops for work and family stuff with the Spring semester starting for me the last week of the month! The new year comes fast and furious it seems!

I’ve decided to follow in the footsteps of some of other bloggers and podcasters and rather than having New Year’s Resolutions, which I always seem to fail at, I’m going to have My One Word (which is “myself” if you haven’t been following along or have forgotten) and a monthly “focus” where I work on a habit or behavior I would like to establish and/or change.  So, I’ve decided that January is going to be all about simplifying for me.  With my house piled high with STUFF and my calendar filling up with STUFF and my feelings of overwhelm in the past, I think this is a great place to start.  I have a few specific areas of my life I would like to simplify:

  1. Things I own/have in my home.
  2. Things for my classes – grading, assignments, travel planning for the team, etc.
  3. Things I have to do – I want to simplify caring for my home, making meals, getting exercise, my schedule, etc.
  4. Money management

SIMPLIFY JANUARY 2016

I realize those are pretty broad, but I think that spending a week or so on each one this month will really help a lot.  I have some choices in how to simplify things – the first, and probably the most difficult for me, is to GET RID OF IT!  Whether it is getting rid of things in my home or getting rid of certain assignments in classes or delegating things to others for the team or my home or figuring out a system that simplifies HOW things are done for work or at home, I definitely have some choices.

So, I’ll be talking some on the blog about what I’m doing to simplify and hopefully sharing some of the resources I find with all of you.

Me Messages, Myself - My One Word, New Year's Countdown

Getting a Me Message…

So, I’ve been on this “myself” kick with it being My One Word for 2016 and all.  And I feel like I’m really trying to listen to what I’m telling myself and see the messages that are being given to me by me and the Universe and God and whoever else is on my side.  This morning, I feel like a message is being dropped on me like a ton of bricks and it only reinforces what I’ve been trying to formulate in my mind the past couple of weeks.

GETTING A MESSAGE FROM

So, what is this message?  Well, a couple of weeks ago when I was thinking about how to tell my DH and DD what I wanted for Christmas/the New Year was to “turn over a new leaf” as a family so-to-speak, I came up with this way of framing the message.  I told my DD, “I want to be a family that takes care of our things.”  And it seemed to click with her.  So, I told my DH the same thing and it seemed to click with him (he even made the bed and cleaned out his car yesterday!).  It was so simple, but so much more positive than saying what I wasn’t liking about our lives.  So, I’ve been trying to come up with three “core” things – the first is being a family that cares for our things.  I’ve been trying to figure out the second and third.  I know I want one of them to have something to do for “doing for others,” but I have not figured out the phrasing yet.

So, anyways, this morning I came across this article from James Clear and I felt like it was a message that I was definitely on the right track and I need to apply this same positive message to MYSELF.  Who do I want to be as a person?  “If you want to change your life, change your identity,” he says.  And I realized that last night I commented on a blog post that I could relate to her “trying to figure out who she was,” and that I’ve been struggling with my identity for quite a while now.  I don’t know if it is so much changing my identity as FINDING it, but it is key to achieving anything.  “The limitations in your life are framed by the box of your mind.  If you want a new life, then start building a new identity,” the article goes on.  Yes.  I have limited MYSELF in the box of my mind.  I have limited myself by NOT having an identity.  So, that was the FIRST message…

Then, immediately after that, I bump into this article on Mydomaine.com which at first seemed unrelated, but then the opening paragraph says, “…as anyone who has set out to achieve something knows, believing is more than half the battle. Believing can translate to achievement, and that’s some magic right there.”  Yeah, believing you ARE who you WANT TO BE is the biggy.  After knowing your identity, you have to believe you are just that!  And then you can live it.

So, what does all this mean?  What do I want MY identity to be?  How do I start living that identity out as MYSELF?  Those, my friends, are the questions I hope to answer, and answer confidently in 2016!  I’m pretty excited as I feel like this is such a simple, but also complex thing to realize.