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…

Tuesday Truth

Tuesday Truth…Embracing the Fun in Year 48

I can’t believe that I will be THIS old in one week:

out-of-my-way_quickmeme-com

Yeah…I won’t be THAT old, but you know what I mean.  I used to think 48 was ancient.  Now it seems like just another year.  Trying to make every year the best year ever is getting exhausting.  So, I’m just going to try to make this year a good one.  Simple. Some things I want more of:  reading, time outside, travel,exercise, and fun.  I have not really been having as much fun in my life as I would like to.  I need to let loose.  I find myself constantly on guard.  I really can’t explain why.  And sometimes it isn’t even conscious.  I want to let that go.  So, I’m hoping to make year 48 my year of “letting loose”.  After all, if you can’t let loose at age 48, when can you let loose?  And letting loose will not include a bunch of “goals” and “plans” and such.  That isn’t very loose is it?

Now, I’m not going crazy and quitting my jobs or anything, so I still need my planner.  And I still have a 7 year old, so there is school and activities, etc.  But, I don’t need to feel tied to my laptop and constantly playing catch up.  It will take some “planning” to make it work, but it doesn’t have to be a list of action items that I check off as the year goes by or specific goals that I end up giving up on and then being upset about my “failure”.   The major requirement is getting off my couch and out of my comfort zone.  There are a ton of opportunities for fun, but I choose to skip a lot of them for some unknown reason.  So, this year, I will embrace the fun!

I think that as we get older, we sometimes lose our capacity for joy.  We let things get in the way of us experiencing joy when and where we could.  We have so much baggage that has built up over time that we have problems setting it down so we can enjoy the fun.  If we’re weighed down with problems and past wrongs and frustrations and all those bags are so heavy, we can’t focus on enjoying ourselves.  So, maybe the key is to set our bags down at the door and take a load off!  That will be what I try to do at each and every opportunity this year – set my baggage down, no matter how difficult it is to pile up at the door and let go of it all!  Because taking that load off will allow me to loosen up and enjoy myself.  And who knows, maybe I will find a way to leave some of it behind at each occasion.  A small package here, a piece of baggage there and I will feel less weighed down all the time!

So, here is to my year 48!  The year of embracing the fun, letting go of the baggage and doing the things I want to do while still getting done the things I need to do.

 

Simplicity Sunday, Uncategorized

Simplicity Sunday – No such thing as “simple”

I am quickly coming to the conclusion that there really is no such thing as simple.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, simple is:  easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.  Not much about my life seems easily understood or done.  Much about my life presents some difficulty.  But, I’m not sure this is all bad.  As the saying goes, nothing easy is worth pursuing.

The last few weeks have been tough.  I didn’t sleep particularly well before leaving for the pre-hospital trip, getting grading done and the house cleaned up.  Then there was the hospital, where I didn’t really sleep at all one night (in the CVICU), barely slept the next night and slept on and off the next couple of nights.  I slept a bit better back at home, but Bean was still up every few hours complaining of pain or needing to move.  My husband left for five weeks a few days after we got home and soon after I left my DD at my in-laws to go to a conference in San Diego.  The first night, my MIL called me with Bean scream crying in the background, saying she was upset because she had forgotten to call me to say goodnight.  That was obviously not the reason she was scream crying.  She was scream crying because she wanted me THERE, with her.

My mom guilt was extremely high.  I should not have left her so soon after she went through so much.  I’m afraid her anxiety will come back due to this craziness.  How important was this conference (well, it was pretty important because I need it to work on this year-long project I am working on)?  Could I have figured out a way to bring her here (tough one…it is expensive and difficult logistically)?  Should I just give up on making it all work (probably…let’s face facts)?  From there, things got much better and she was fine.  So, on the roller coaster of mothering, I was on the short, fun drop instead of the upside down, traveling way to fast to be comfortable part of the ride.

We’ve been home now for a little over a week and things are going pretty well.  Although, she missed two days of VBS this past week with a fever, so there was a bit of panic for that.  But, it must have been some 24 hour bug because it was quickly gone.

I also didn’t get one of her medications in the monthly delivery, but when I called the pharmacy they said the doctor had not sent a refill.  When I called the doctor, it was a problem with pre-authorization.  And it turns out, we can just buy this stuff over the counter for about the same cost as the copay (maybe cheaper if I can catch it on sale).  So, we took care of that issue.

So, this is what I mean by NOTHING being simple.  But, I think that gives me all the more reason to simplify whatever parts of my life I CAN simplify.  So, decluttering my house (I feel like I have rid myself of VOLUMES of stuff in the past six months, but we still have VOLUMES AND VOLUMES of stuff left.  What is with that?!?  Decluttering my schedule and establishing routines so I don’t have to constantly think about what I should be doing next.  I want to surround myself with things I love and enjoy and that make me feel peaceful and content.  Then, when the inevitable complexity of life pops up, I can not only survive, but thrive.

I am quickly approaching my 48th birthday (what the heck?).  I want to live up to what this blog title suggests…being more in my 40s.  I have a limited time to achieve that though.  A very limited time indeed.

Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday – Five Reasons to Visit Your Local Library

This week is focused on a simple resource you probably have in your community, but may not be utilizing.  Your public library.

Summer 2014 Library Reading Log
My DD’s Summer Reading Log at start of Summer 2014.  We got another yesterday for this summer!

My DD and I then went to our county library yesterday.  We used to go the library once or twice a week before she started school, but we’ve not been going as much in the past year and a half or so.  I’ve missed it.  I love the library.  I have talked about it in a previous Sunday post (over a year and a half ago) and nothing has really changed.  I realize that some people have not been library goers for their entire lives (my mom started me quite young), so I thought I would share my top five reasons (there are so many) to visit your local library and check it out:

First, it is FREE!  No strings attached (other than meeting return deadlines).  No free today, but your credit card will be charged in four weeks and for the remainder of your natural life.  Every library offers slightly different services, but our library has movies, audio CDs, ebooks, book clubs, activities for kids, etc.  It is worth checking out what your library has to offer.

Second, it is quiet.  Well, relatively.  If you need a place to escape to where you don’t have to purchase a $5 coffee and listen to the person at the next table talk about their upcoming visit from in-laws on their cell phone, this is a good spot.  You can’t eat and drink in the library at ours, but they have a great grassy area just to the side of the library that makes for good picnicking and some libraries have rooms where you can eat and drink.

Third, it is constantly changing.  Much like the local bookstore, but without the price tags, our library is constantly changing up the books on it’s front tables.  It has art work that changes every few months.  It offers new selections constantly and often has new activities to try out (we have a knitting group, a book club, a chess club for teens, family movies on Sunday afternoons – with popcorn).  I am always curious to see what they have and what they have going on.

Fourth, and this is parent-specific, your kids can look at books, play with toys and use a computer without you having to worry about buying it later! BONUS:  Other adults are there too! I have tried to teach my daughter that we don’t need to buy something every time we go to a store.  And we often don’t.  But, it is always a battle.  At the library, when she finds a book she really likes, I can feel good about saying, “let’s get it”.  I can also feel good about bringing it back when she has read it and will never look at it again!  Our library has blocks, felt boards, puppet theater with puppets, etc.  It is air conditioned, so in the hot months, it is a great alternative to the park.  They have coloring sheets and crayons and pencils.  And usually, you can find a friendly adult to chat with while your kids play.  It feels safe.  It feels comfortable (I’m not constantly fretting about what she can and can touch).  It is enjoyable without costing a penny.  I can sit and read a book myself, or look at magazines, or even work on something and she is in a safe, cool space.

Fifth and most important, it helps to keep much-needed public spaces available in our communities.  When the big bookstores came to town, a lot of libraries struggled to prove their need in the communities.  Funding was cut.  Hours were cut.  And if people don’t use these services, demonstrating that the community supports and NEEDS these services, the cuts will continue.  We are lucky to have a supportive community, so our library is actually expanding hours back in the Fall (they had made significant cuts a while back).  Public spaces that offer resources for everyone are important to me.  Although I can afford to go to Barnes and Noble or shop online at Amazon to buy my daughter books (we actually buy quite a few at thrift stores, because reuse, recycle, etc.), I want every child, no matter what their financial circumstances to be able to access books and literacy programs and a space that is inviting and encouraging of reading.  I also want adults who do not have computers in their homes to have access to those resources. My parents used the public library computers for a dozen years, never choosing to have a computer in their home.  Many seniors and homeless individuals use the computers at the library to get access to needed resources.

Public spaces can be scary.  After all, they are so, well, public.  Homeless people do use the library much more often than Barnes and Noble (although, sometimes they are in the cafe there).  And to some people, that is a bad thing.  But, to me, this is reality.  And facing the individuals in our communities who are not thriving hopefully will help us remain a community rather than being divided by social class.  We have prided ourselves on NOT being a society based on class division, but we have created these consumerist walls of division between those of us who can participate in that consumerist lifestyle and those who can’t/don’t.  I think that doing more to create community through our public spaces is important.  And if homeless people abuse the public space, they should be removed (and hopefully provided with the help they need, although that is another area of funding that has gone to the wayside in recent decades – our mental health services have collapsed, but I will leave that for another post), but just because they may not be dressed as nice as we are or smell as good as we do or have their hair styled does not mean they don’t deserve to be recognized and served as the humans they are.  I like that the public library provides a space for all of use to coexist.

 

Wordless Wednesday

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but it has been a decent picture-taking week.  I really would like to take more pictures, but my phone battery is worthless and I often run out of power before pictures.  Which is sad, but definitely a First World problem.

It has been a week of guinea pig appreciation in our household.  We got the guins a while ago and my DD really loves them.  As you can see above, we have couch dinners for them, she reads to them, she lets them play on Animal Crossing on her 3DS, etc.  She also uses our dog as a pillow.  The middle bottom is her and her best friend from school on our way to the end-of-the-year park play day.  Tomorrow we have a sleepover with the same friend for the last day of school.

It has been a good week and we leave for beautiful (and much cooler) Monterey in two days!  Looking forward to relaxing before the stressful hospital stay.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Cheer

Friday, already?!?  Unbelievable!  Spring 2016 has officially come to a close (Class-wise.  Grading-wise, it has just begun to come to a close.) and I’m feeling both relieved and a little wistful.  So many things I would do differently (and can, next semester).  So many students I hope will keep in touch with me (I had some real gems this semester – I’m saying that with no sarcasm at all).  So many things I really enjoyed (and can’t wait to do again next semester).  So many unknowns moving forward!  And a sure-to-be-too-short summer “off” once I get my grades submitted!  I both love and hate this “in-between period”.  It is hard to stay motivated to keep grading quickly and efficiently when I know that I won’t have students asking me about them in class.  It is hard to not jump forward into planning without doing a proper and realistic appraisal of this past semester.  It is hard not to collapse into a pool of exhausted jelly and just watch the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel for weeks on end.  But, I am attempting to keep things going…and that includes my semi-regular, weekly blogging attempts, of which Five Minute Friday is one of the more regular semi-regular posts!

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

So, here goes….

Cheer relates to “joy” when I think about it.  Feeling “cheerful” means feeling content and happy.  It also relates to celebrations to me.  The whole “Cheers!” thing we say when toasting others.  And this week is definitely one of celebration!  I gave my last final of the Spring 2016 semester on Thursday and I am somewhat cheerful in looking forward to summer break.  My DD is going to be finishing up First Grade on Thursday and I’m definitely feeling cheerful about that.  At a number of points during her short life, I wasn’t sure we would celebrate milestones such as this.  Summer is always a reason to “cheer” for me.  It is one of my favorite things about being a teacher!  I get to spend long summer days with my DD enjoying summer fun.  I know how lucky I am to have that ability.

Cheer also makes me think of “cheering” for someone or something.  I love baseball and we’re getting back our minor league team after many years of absence.  I am excited to have someone local to “cheer” on and to be able to take my DD to baseball games during this summer of cheer!


That’s it.  Not very deep this week, but it is done.  Even if it was a day late (I went to bed before the actual Five Minutes began last night.  🙂

 

Simplicity Sunday, Uncategorized

Simplicity Sunday – Simplicity is not Simple

Another Sunday already?!?  I actually wrote that title LAST Sunday and that was it for my posting attempt.  Sad.  But, I’m back with the same title, hoping to actually post something this time.  My house is a total disaster right now.  Partially because I have been busy, busy, busy for the past month or more.  But, a bigger reason is that we just have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF!  For example – this is my dining room and end table currently:

Messy Dining Room Table

First of all, every time I take a picture of my house I notice something else I hate.  I mean, I hate the mess, but that light fixture in the dining room – hideous.  How badly stained the arm on my couch is (a replacement couch has been sitting in our garage for over six months now, but there it sits)…but, the point of the picture was the piles of stuff.  That is what I’ve collected over the past couple of weeks as everything that does not have a place goes on our dining room table.  The piles get moved around, but there they stay.  The pile on the end table is my grading.

So, yeah, I’m starting to realize just HOW MUCH STUFF we have in our home.  It is somewhat insane.  There are only three of us.  So, I’m trying to get rid of stuff.  But, it is sometimes difficult.  I feel like there are things that should be kept (books, for example), but they take up space.  Precious space.  And do I REALLY need them?  I did get rid of some sheets today from our queen size bed (we replaced it with a King for Mother’s Day), which was liberating.  And I’m going to get rid of some additional pillows and buy some King size pillows tomorrow or Tuesday.  I also threw out a few makeup items and took some things from our downstairs bedroom that actually belongs upstairs.  I am ready to be DONE with moving piles of stuff from one place to another, from one room to another.  But, that means the stuff in those piles have to stop moving AROUND my house and start moving OUT OF my house.

So, that’s the plan.  The Summer of Simplifying!