Thursday, December 31, 2015

The New Year's Eve Post

It's the last day of the year!!

And what a year it has been. Since I do wrap-up posts at the end of every season I didn't want to do an end of the year wrap up. But here are the links to the seasonal posts from the last year:

Winter 2015

Spring 2015

Summer 2015

Fall 2015

I'm pleased as punch that we managed to get all the living space in the house painted. It was such a long, slow, taxing process - I guess that just makes the accomplishing all the sweeter. The house is far from done but the paint goes a long way towards making this house feel warmer and more relaxing.

My endometreosis got much worse in 2015, but I was also able to cut that pain down significantly after going on the pill. If only it was that easy to manage my chronic migraines and fibromyalgia...

As for today, well, hubby and I are not stay-up-late, or party people so we won't be sipping bubbly and smooching at midnight. I'm fighting a migraine that started yesterday so the plan is to just have a pizza, watch Netflix and go to bed at the usual time. Although I think we'll eat our pizza off our wedding china. That's sort of celebratory, isn't it? I think so, especially since it's all dishwasher safe.

I hope all of you have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday - Puppy tries to reclaim bed from cat

Let's close out the year of whimsical clips with this one of a puppy trying to get his bed back from the cat.

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Got Sick - Just in Time for Christmas

I started getting sick on Christmas morning. Hubby got it first and passed it onto me. We powered through a family gathering that evening and then spent the entire weekend resting. Unfortunately, all that rest doesn't seem to have helped. I'm not getting any worse, but I'm also not getting any better.

I can't ever remember getting a bug that just showed up and didn't progress or regress. Strange.

The good news is hubby took my car to work today so I don't have to run my errands. Instead my big plan for the day is napping and hoping the rain stops so poor Gypsy can actually take a walk. After 3 solid days of rain we are all feeling a bit restless.

In fact, I think I'll get started on that napping now.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday - SNL Christmas Clip

One more Christmas Clip from SNL to help get you in the mood and make you laugh.

Have a great day and Very Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Busy Holiday Season + Chronic Pain = Bad Blogger

I've been a bad blogger this holiday season.

I've decided that my to-do-list is lengthy and stressful enough this year that I wouldn't worry much about being a good blogger until after the holidays. Hubby is finally done with school for the semester so any time that hasn't been dedicated to preparing for various Christmas parties, the 3 late December family birthdays and a wedding shower have been dedicated to being with him.

I'm exhausted, of course. I've very close to hitting a wall and just crashing. Thankfully, almost all of what needs to be done is done. I will have to do some cooking on Christmas before we travel to our family gathering and Gypsy needs a bath; then it's just a matter of pulling myself together, showing up and chit chatting with people at these get-togethers.

I say this as if it's not a huge deal when you are exhausted and in pain, but we all know it is.

Hubby is getting sick so it's quite possible our festivities will be cut short. That would actually be kinda nice. I could use the rest.

I have missed all of you and look forward to getting back to my more regular blogging routine when things calm down a bit. I hope all of you out there are doing well and enjoying your holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday: A Christmas Story

The list of Christmas movies I love is long. At the top of that list is A Christmas Story. Here is a classic scene for your enjoyment and to help get you in the mood.

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mourning my Unfulfilled Professional Potential

What would I have become if my life hadn't been derailed by chronic migraines and fibromyalgia?

See, I was one of those people who truly loved working. I loved having someplace to be every day. I loved interacting with coworkers and other community members. I loved learning and becoming better at what I was doing. I loved working hard and watching that work pay off. I loved accomplishing goals. I felt such a sense of purpose and fulfillment from my work. 

My path wasn't a traditional one by any stretch. I took several years off from college and worked in the life enrichment field at a senior assisted living residence. When I went back to school I got my degree in social work and spent several years during and after school working for small non-profits. It was hard work but quite rewarding. 

Then it happened - chronic pain. It's been about 10 years now. Ten prime career development years that stretched from my late 20s to now my late 30s, just gone.

Despite my best efforts to the contrary, sometime I can't help but wonder what I would have become; what I would have accomplished if I wasn't living with chronic pain...

I am fairly certain I would have gone back to school to get a master's degree in social work with a research focus because I find social research absolutely fascinating. Obviously, I would have then wanted to do social research. I imagine I would be living a rich intellectual life that challenged and excited me. I would be engaged in the world around me. I would have continued to make a name for myself as a reliable, honest professional. 

I try hard not to allow myself to focus extended periods of time thinking about such things because it stirs a deep sense of grief and longing within me. Anger is usually just under the surface of these other emotions. Anger that can't be directed or attached to a cause - it's nobody's fault. 

Still, it happens. The thoughts creep in. The emotions follow. I like to give myself some time to ponder what could have been and some time to feel all the emotions that stem from it. Eventually, the time comes when I feel the need to shift my focus onto what is. 

The truth is, many blessings have come into my life because of the unexpected path chronic pain has put me on. I have so much to be thankful for despite not being able to realize the professional potential I once had. This dichotomy can be deeply challenging. I wish I could find a way to still fulfill that part of me once so satisfied by my career. But that's really a different season, isn't it? 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday: Christmas Vacation

In honor of the upcoming Christmas holiday I wanted to share a clip from one of my favorite Christmas movies.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Whimsy Wednesday: SNL Star Wars Auditions

Here are some Star Wars auditions from the funny folks at Saturday Night Live.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

From an ER Visit to Backyard Firepits, Fall 2015 Had it All

Well the fall season sure went by fast this year. Between adjusting to some new meds and trying to keep up with things at home I guess time just got away from me. Let's take a quick look back at the past few months.

Fall Favorites

My sister gave me an adult coloring book and some high-end colored pencils for my birthday. Who even knew there was such a thing as high-end colored pencils - much to my surprise it actually does make a difference.

Anyway, I've really enjoyed relaxing on the couch with my book and pencils this fall. Something about the rhythm of moving the pencils and focusing attention on color selection and technique well, it's both relaxing and distracting. Perfect for someone like me.
This is the one I'm currently working on.
Since popular culture has begun to embrace adult coloring as a relaxing activity for anyone of any age it has become easy to find coloring books made for adults. Some are actually adult themed or humorous but most seem to be intricate designs. I highly recommend this activity to my fellow chronic pain sufferers.
My other favorite from this fall is the discovery of these sheets at Target. I've been waiting literally for years for the local Ikea to open up so I could pick up another set of white sheets. We got a set when we lived by Ikea in Northern Virginia a number of years ago. Unfortunately, when the new Ikea opened, I discovered that they no longer carry those same sheets. But I did find these Threshold brand brushed organic cotton sheet from Target and decided to give them a chance.

Threshold also makes some that are not brushed or organic
Make sure you look for the green organic banner.

They come in a variety of colors and even some patterns.

What makes these sheets so great? Three simple things:
1. They're made from BRUSHED organic cotton, which means the fabric you see and feel in the store will still look and feel the same even after it has been repeatedly washed. You won't see your dryer lint trap fill up with all the softness you were promised in the store, only to be left with thin, rough sheets. In general, finding brushed cotton sheets can be difficult.

2. The fitted sheet fits great, even after several washes. Plus it has labels that mark top/bottom and sides, which is great for our king mattress. Before I was forced to use the trial and error method for determining which way to put it on. I guess this wouldn't be a problem on smaller mattresses, where length and width are more obvious. AND the top sheet is longer on the sides than any other sheets I've ever owned. I love this because now I'm not struggling to cover my fitted sheet and I can actually tuck in the sides if I wanted to.

3. The price point is just as perfect as the sheets themselves. The sheets only have a thread count of 300, which sounds kinda rough. That's because stores want you to believe that a higher thread count equals softer sheets but that is simply NOT TRUE. Sheet softness is determined by the quality of cotton being used and if it is brushed or not. These sheets are in fact quite soft and very reasonably priced, ranging from $28-$56 for a set.

Fall Successes

The big success this fall was in making pillow covers. I made a few envelope style covers just to get my feet wet and then I started in on the zippered covers.

These are two of the Christmas covers I made.
With Gypsy on the couch all the time I love being able to take the covers off our throw pillows and wash them. So far I've made some nice fall and Christmas covers.
The other big success this fall was completing the painting project in our main living space. It was important to me that it was done before it was time to decorate for Christmas and we got it done just with just a week to spare. What a relief!

This final project was tricky because it was this funny little area above the rabbit nook. Unsure how the inner structure of that shelf would hold up to my weight we tested it with weights first. With the aid of some wood to help distribute the weight evenly, it ended up being no problem at all. Now I just need to figure out what to put up there...

Fall Failures

Our oven/stove isn't quite working as it should. It's one of the appliances that came with the house, which means it's of low quality to begin with. Still, I thought it would last longer than 2 years. Normally I wouldn't worry too much until it broke outright but since it is a gas appliance we don't want to take any chances so we've ordered a new one. A nice one that can withstand regular use, with a warranty and everything. There are several things I hated about our current one so this wasn't terrible news, still it was a rather large unexpected expense right before Christmas. Thankfully appliances are on deep discount right around Thanksgiving so we got a great deal. Now we just have to wait another week for delivery.

Fall Highlights

After years of waiting and 18 months of construction, Ikea finally opened in St. Louis. I absolutely love being in an Ikea. I love small spaces and I love design so walking through the showrooms are great fun. Plus, there are all sorts of bargains to be had in the marketplace. Not everything is priced well but enough is.

I picked up these two low-light plants to put in the master bedroom.
Eventually I want to have plants in every room.
I've already been twice and hope to make another trip later this month. It's wonderful to have an Ikea nearby again.
The weather has cooperated allowing us the pleasure of many firepits - always a highlight. We managed to squeeze one in almost every weekend of the season. I LOVE sitting in front of the fire with hubby, just talking and enjoying the environment. Our firepits always brighten my spirit, helps me relax and what a tremendous distraction. Even when I'm in a fair amount of pain I can still sit outside and have a nice time in front of the fire with my love.

It was all the more precious this year because quality time with hubby is harder to come by now that he has gone back to school.

Fall Lowlights

Hands down the lowlight of this fall was the day I spent in the ER in horrible pain from my endometriosis. I was glad for the intervention and some relief from the pain but I was pretty disappointed with myself for ignoring the worsening pain for so long.

So there you have it. This fall came with all kinds of ups and downs. Life remains interesting and for that I'm thankful. Now Let's get this winter thing over with.