Sunday, July 8, 2018

The "new" job

I haven't written anything about my job change but now that I am settled into the new job I have decided that it's time.

I liked my old job ok...liked the people I worked with a lot...but the sitting all day was not doing me any favors and I was developing carpal tunnel symptoms from being on the computer all day. And so I started looking around a bit. I wanted to be able to move during the day. I wanted to not be on a computer the whole time.  I applied for a couple of jobs closer to my home and talked to some people I know about possible opportunities.

I like interacting with people (though I always forget about the perfume issues until I am interacting with lots of people and then I'm like "oh, yeah, I should stay in a room by myself!") and decided to look for something where I could move around a bit more and also see people in person, rather than just interacting by phone.

Long story short, I got a job working for a local chiropractor.

And...after two months I can honestly say that I really like my new job!
I don't dread work. I don't get anxious or sad on Sunday night.  I usually leave work actually feeling kind of energized after the day of pleasant interactions and tasks successfully fulfilled.

Other plusses to the job: I have 1.5 days off each week! So, yes, I am working fewer hours overall which might contribute to my happiness level as well. Just maybe.

The doctor is very nice and I like my coworkers (though one is leaving soon so I'm really hoping to like the new person!). I'm learning new skills and new computer programs. I get adjusted for free!  Since it's a small business, I did lose some of the perks that I enjoyed at my old job: 401K, wellness plans, immediate paid time off (I will eventually get that at this job but not for awhile).  But my hope is to stay long term at this job because I can see myself being fulfilled there while still having time for a life.  If something dire happens in my life where I need a job with insurance, I will have to rethink this but for now it fits my life really well.

I'm grateful for the skills I learned at my old job which helped me get this new one and I still keep in touch with a variety of the friends I made there.

I sort of imagined that I would forever be just ok with working full time--managing and adjusting--but never really being happy about it. I suppose the new job is really more like 3/4 time rather than full time but it does feel like something I can keep doing without feeling trapped.

Yay for life upgrades!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Physical ailments

I managed to get my "ice pick headache" during the last few days of our Mexico vacation. This particular headache is different from my normal migraines and I get it much less frequently, thank heaven!  But when I do get it, it is beyond debilitating.  I cannot function at all and spend a good deal of time vacillating between anger/crankiness and crying/screaming.  Getting randomly stabbed in the head all day and night every few seconds is very very draining.

The number one problem with this headache is that no one, NO ONE, seems to know what to do for it. I've gone to headache specialists, Emergency Rooms, Urgent Care, primary doctor...you name it, I have done it.  They try this and that and give me pain meds and whatnot which sometimes do nothing and sometimes "take the edge off" but nothing actually causes the pains to cease. They do eventually peter out on their own but have taken as long as 2 weeks to do so in the past.

This time I went straight to my headache specialist. Frank had a business trip right after we got home from Mexico so he wasn't around and Carter had to work so my parents stepped up to give me a ride. We joked about how it was a Thursday and I'm supposed to be helping mom but instead she had to help me this time. My doctor took me very seriously at least and looked at different types of headaches that this could be and really tried to figure out the best options for treatment. I was given an IV with various concoctions in it which helped. I could tell that the pains were coming further apart and with less intensity, which is a good thing, but they weren't gone so that made me nervous. Nevertheless, I went home to rest.  I got about 4-5 hours of relief before  they returned in earnest. Carter gave me a blessing that evening and I felt much better for quite awhile.

Around 10 PM I started to feel a stomach ache coming on, which wasn't totally surprising given the number and variety of pain medications I had been taking for several days now.  It quickly progressed to a long and horrible night of vomiting every few minutes.  I have no idea what caused it but I was grateful that my head pains were not bad as well, that might have pushed me over some edge that I don't want to go over.

I had to call out sick to work and spent another day on the couch feeling sorry for myself.

It's now Saturday and the head stabbing seems to be returning though its in the beginning stages which means it is less intense and less frequent...it tends to ramp up over time.

Why am I blogging all of this?  I don't know exactly.  I just have to let it out and "talking" about it seems to help somehow.

I don't want to be a person who is defined by my physical ailments.  I want to be normal.  I don't want to have to call out of work or ask someone else to teach my Sunday school lesson. I want to be reliable and I want to be a fun person who is excited to see a nice day outside rather than one who feels like it doesn't matter what the weather is like because I will be laying in a dark room no matter what.

So, yes, I'm still feeling sorry for myself. This too shall pass. I know this.  And right now I super ready for it to do just that.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Celebrating 30 years

Last week Frank and I went to Cancun to celebrate our 30th anniversary.
We stayed in a resort that we've stayed at previously so we knew the area and the restaurants.
We told ourselves we would try new restaurants and go to new places...but we did very little of that.
We went to our favorite local beach where we hung out, ate local food and enjoyed the amazing beach and water. As usual, we were the only non-locals there.
Here's a picture from the internet.  We love this beach. The sand is soft, the water is clear and there are chairs and umbrellas. There are local families enjoying the day and a small local restaurant that serves fresh fish and delicious tortilla chips.

We asked for our favorite dish, Molcajete, from the restaurant at the resort even though it is no longer on the menu. They made it for us and it was super delicious!

We went to the road of Cenotes, which was new for us. We've been to other Cenotes but never this one. We swam around and enjoyed the cave, the water and yes, even the bats! I wasn't supposed to get my hand wet so I paddled around on a float which was still nice.

I can tell you that keeping your hand dry while staying in Cancun ON THE BEACH is not easy.

Our one big "new" thing took place on our last day. We went to an island about 2 hours away called Holbox (Pronounced HoleBosh--long "o" sound on both words). Once we arrived at the island we wandered around a bit enjoying the small town, we ate lunch and then we went to the beach which was GORGEOUS with the clearest water ever. Here are some more pictures from the internet: It looked exactly like this.  The water, the town, the flamingos! It was awesome.




Frank had a business call so after he was done, we signed up for a 3 island tour. Here is a description from the internet: a boat tour to Passion Island, Isla Pajaros and Yalahau Spring. On this guided excursion, view over 35 species of nesting birds on Isla Pajaros (Bird Island), including frigates and pelicans. Hear about the birds' migration patterns and breeding breeding behaviors from your bird-loving local guide. Continue to Passion Island to see the resident flamingos, then swim in the cenote (freshwater sinkhole) at Yalahau. 
We had a good time and even think we might enjoy staying on Holbox someday. I will, however, avoid Mosquito Point for obvious reasons. We tried to get as close as possible to the flamingos because I love them so much. I think I may have to get some flamingo art to put up in my room.

The other thing new that I did was that I took zero pictures.  I put my phone in the safe and left it there the whole week. I just enjoyed the beauty and the nice weather without posting about it or taking photos.  Now, with my terrible memory this might mean that this particular vacation could completely disappear from my mind, which I guess would be sad, but I enjoyed it while I was there. I know Frank took a couple of photos so if I get my hands on them, maybe I'll add them here.  And, obviously, I pilfered a few from the internet.

I'm as addicted to my phone as the next person but I'm trying to be less so. I'm trying to overcome that habitual grabbing of the phone throughout the day.  I don't use it at all during work either which is helpful.
I noticed so many people wearing their phones around their necks in Cancun. They have them in water proof bags on a string so that they can take selfies in the pool or ocean (and oh man, did we see a lot of that). I like to get pictures of Frank and I together when we do these kinds of things so I'm not anti-selfie or anything but it does feel like it is out of hand.  And so, I'm trying to overcome the pull of the phone in my own little way.

Sorry for the change of subject...Happy Anniversary to us! 30 years.  It's been great, and hard, and fun and awful at times. We've got 4 great boys and now 2 great daughters as well. It's gone so fast! I can't believe it has been 30 years already.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Time with Mom

Mom and Dad have moved into Doneen's house.  It is a good idea long term but the change in environment and situation is confusing for Mom and she has gone downhill since moving.
Dad of course does the majority of caring for and being with mom but Doneen is also picking up a lot of the responsibility...what with Mom living in her house and all.

Everyone is trying to convince Mom that this is "her" house so that she will feel comfortable. But it leaves a bit of a problem when she is done with all the visitors and wants them to go home  and take their dogs with them! The bedroom is set up with her familiar furniture and pictures on the walls so she is most comfortable in that space.

I'm trying to get back to my Thursday visits to give Dad and Doneen a break. It should work well with my new job since I have Thursdays off.

Last week I went and when I arrived Mom was about to start playing the piano. I helped her find the hymn book and encouraged her to play.  She used to play really well and I was surprised to find that she can still play.
She's concentrating here...not unhappy :-)

 There are other skills that she has totally lost but piano seems to still be in her muscle memory somewhere. She sometimes had to drop the second hand and play just the melody but most of the songs were quite recognizable with just a few mistakes. Of course, in true mom style, she berates herself for her mistakes.  I just encouraged her and told her she was doing really well (and reminding her that I can't play at all so anything she does is better than I could do! She liked this reasoning ha!)



She enjoyed playing and did so for almost 30 minutes I think.

After that we watched a movie together. Yes, I always turn to old movies because she remembers them somewhat and it is easier than trying to keep her attention on something else.  She enjoys musicals and Pride and Prejudice. This week we watched "Hello Dolly" and she loved the costumes, music and dancing.

I bought her a "toy" for mother's day.
It is supposed to help with keeping hands busy and just entertain to play with. It is a bunch of colorful wood balls all connected. You can move them around to different shapes. I pulled it out when I was there to see if she would become interested. She asked what it was and I just explained it a little bit. She then told me how it was a good toy for babies but there was no one there to need it now. Doh!  I left it near us hoping she would pick it up but she never did. I ended up mindlessly playing with it a few times though! haha

She's had a rough week with an asthma attack that left her needing oxygen 24/7. It might be temporary but we will have to see. Either way, the tubes in her nose, on her face and dragging behind her when she walked were super confusing to her and she kept trying to take them off.  Repeatedly explaining what they were and why she had to keep them on was tiring but she didn't really fight me about it. Apparently at other times she has been quite adamant at not wanting the oxygen so I got off easy.

Time spent with Mom is not easy but it is worth it. I am able to help her feel loved when everything else is so confusing to her. I am able to give Dad a little bit of a break which he desperately needs. And I am able to give Doneen some time to not worry about Mom either.  I'm sure in the coming days, weeks and months we will all need to step up our assistance to Dad and Doneen.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Family fun...with sharp objects!

So, I drive by this place every day when I go to and come home from work.  I have thought for some time that we need to go there. I like to support local small businesses for one and it also just intrigued me. I kept putting it off and then one of my neighbors went and posted about it on Facebook...they loved it, so I knew that I had to do it!
 So one night last week, I walked in from work and just announced that we were going.  Carter was not interested but I forced him to come (not too difficult really, just a little mom guilt was applied).  Where did we go?
Axe throwing!
I know, sounds weird but it was super fun.
I have decided that it needs to be our next date night with my siblings as well. We haven't set it up yet but soon, I hope.

The guy that owns it was there and he showed us how to throw the various kinds of axes that he has available. We practiced for a bit until we could all get the axe to stick in the target.  Once we were sticking it pretty regularly he introduced us to a  few games.  We competed against each other and just had a great time. I kicked butt on one of the games. Like KILLED the guys. We won't talk about how I did on the other games...mmmkay?



The picture below is where Frank barely got a hit on the "8 ball" which is way up on the target. This hit helped him win the first game. I couldn't throw even remotely high enough to hit that part of the target.

There is a second room where we could throw knives and metal playing cards. Carter was flipping the cards at the target but they weren't really sticking much.  The guy told us that for some reason flipping the cards works better if you use sound effects.  So carter flipped five cards really quickly and made a whipping sound with his mouth each time...all five cards stuck! It was hilarious.

It was tiring but so so fun! We were actively throwing axes for over an hour (and a couple of us were sore the next day I will admit)


He had us sign the wall before we left and he took group picture
(which I do not have on my phone for some reason)




The place we went to is called Phat Axe.
I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

How I manage. Plus a bucket list item crossed off the list.

I've been to Moab twice in the last two weeks.  Even for a Moab lover, isn't that a lot?
I am not going to give a play by play of our jeeping adventures because it's pretty much the same as any of the other times we went.  I was scared, it was pretty though, Frank loved it, yada yada yada.

What I would like to share is the coping mechanisms that I have come up with:
1-make a vow to myself to just keep my mouth shut and not yell, or whimper or cry or scream. Just be stoic. (Always break said vow within 5 minutes)
2-close my eyes when it is scary
3-get out of the car when it is really scary
4-pretend I'm on a roller coaster (but with my eyes shut)
5-pull my hat over my face and whimper
6-eat twizzlers
7-try to notice and point out the pretty stuff (flowers, mountains, clouds etc)

I'm eating better lately so I have given up #6 but Frank mentioned this last weekend that I do better when I have some twizzlers so that one must have worked somewhat.  They guys enjoy mocking me and my inadvertent noises, so at least I am entertaining.

Here are some pretty flowers I saw on our hikes. I love desert flowers!









The following little orange ones were my favorite but they were always in big bunches right on the side of the road, so difficult to photograph. I finally saw this little bunch and it is out of focus. Gah!



We did some pretty serious hiking on both weekends. Carter came with us on on Memorial weekend and we hiked the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park. That hike was a bucket list item for me and I loved it!  It requires a permit to do it so advanced planning is necessary (not our strong suit).  Luckily we thought to get a permit the week before,  since we were there. It worked out great.
Here are some of the pictures of that hike:







Love the various arches and windows!  Arches really is one of my favorite places.


Beautiful!






 There was a fair amount of scrambling, climbing in cracks and through holes in the rock.  So cool


This is called "Surprise Arch" and it is awesome.


That's all for now!
This weekend, I am staying home and I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

30 years baby!

Yesterday, May 28 2018 was my 30th wedding anniversary.
30 years is a long time.

We went to Moab for the long weekend so I wasn't able to post but I wanted to write a little something to commemorate the occasion.

Frank got me a lovely picture of Christ with his sheep, a cute card (Disney themed! He is trying to get what I might like obviously) and just a few sugar free chocolates (we are trying to eat healthy but he knows I would like a little cheat).  I got him...nothing. Ugh.
In my defense, we are going to Mexico in a couple of weeks which is our official celebration of our anniversary so I didn't know we were doing anything on the actual day. 
Still, it was definitely a fail on my part.

I was really surprised by the picture!  I love it.  As I opened it he said something along the lines of the picture reminding him of me and my life's work/what I do best.  It totally made me tear up and still does when I think about it. So thoughtful.

Let's see how we've changed:
1988


1990 Frank's College Graduation


1995 (My college graduation)

Most of the pictures from the "early years" were on film so I don't have access to them. I need to get them digitized. Although those were not my best years, so I'm ok with missing them. Ha!
See:
1999 


1999 New Years Eve

2000 (Business trip tag along)

2003 NYC

2004 on our Anniversary

2005

2006 (Me trying not to cry at Christmas)

2006 Our anniversary (I tagged along on a business trip Frank had to London!)

2007 (40th bday trip for me)

2008
2008 (70's Party)

2009 in our backyard

2009 (Maine)


2010 Anniversary weekend (at a Memorial Day Parade)

2010 (first time at the grand canyon. Came out west for my parent's 50th anniversary)

2011 Branden and Amber's Wedding

2012 (The day Frank entered the hospital with Leukemia)

2012 (The day before Frank went back to the hospital for his bone marrow transplant)

2012 (On our anniversary)
2013 (Canobie Lake Park with Carter and friends)

2013 (Oregon Christmas, Frank's 50th bday)

2014 (Oregon Coast)

2015 (Moab)

2016

2017 (Moab)

2018 (Family wedding)

Apparently, for the most part we don't take pictures together unless it's a holiday or special occasion. Luckily we have taken some when we've gone hiking in Moab or I'd have nothing together for the last few years! Gotta fix that I guess.

It's been a bumpy ride for sure but I guess that's just how life is, amiright?
We do forget to cherish each day, which I vowed to do when Frank was so sick, but I'm grateful that our lives have become so normal that we can sometimes take it for granted.

Love is like that sometimes.
And I'm glad to have my love of 30 years here by my side.