46 years and 1453 days

It’s a cold but sunny and bright Sunday morning- and I’m feeling relaxed. I’ve been up for a couple of hours and have already gotten the grocery shopping done (thank you online grocery service <3) and talked to my sister for awhile- which is basically my therapy.

Friday was St. Patrick’s Day and my 46th birthday.

This birthday was heavier than most, much harder mentally than I expected.

It made me feel sort of ashamed because I’ve spent the past year tooting how little age matters. After all, people in their 60’s and 70’s routinely kick my A$$ on the Peloton leaderboard, so naturally I couldn’t wait to get a little older so I can get stronger and faster. I would scoff at people crying about their age.

But there’s something about 46… it’s oftly close to 50.. but I spent the past decade shouting that 50 is the new 30 so why do I care??

Despite these icky feelings, it was a fantastic day. I made word games with little shamrocks for the kids at school on Friday. It was festive and fun. When I got home, all three of my boys were in the kitchen with some gifts for me. They were small gifts, but they were all my favorite things. They even wrapped up a can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli 🤣🤣

We went out for an early dinner and then one of my best friends came down from up north to stay the night.

Friday night was fun, we stayed up till 2am catching up and playing Euchre. On Saturday, we had a relaxing morning and then went shopping at our favorite discount stores. It was a fun couple of days!

Now it’s Sunday, and I’m ready to soak up this entire relaxing day before thinking about work tomorrow. But, I’m ecstatic that we have a week off after next week for spring break.

On another note, I can’t even believe it’s spring break! Didn’t I just start teaching at a new school like yesterday??

Spring is on Tuesday, and riding my bike to work is a closer and closer reality! This was not even close to being an option in the fall, when I was so immobile, but thankfully I’m doing so much better. I can’t even remember the last time I took motrin or tylenol 🎉✨

Speaking of work, it’s been on my mind a lot. I am very fearful of getting let go, or laid off after this school year. I don’t know why, honestly. If anything, the way it looks with the needs of our students, they are going to have to add some positions for next year, certainly not take some away. Additionally, they can hardly find applicants for the same position posted now, so why would they let me go? All I can figure is that it’s that deep rooted belief that I’m not good enough.

On a superficial level, I do feel successful at work. Especially lately, it feels like when people come into my room and I have 18 things going on, but each child is focused and working on something, they are impressed and have said so. So it’s a shame that I can’t be proud and confident, but I guess it keeps me humble, so that’s good.

I think I’ve fallen in love with my new school, the students are special and I have a handful of coworkers that I connect with and have so much admiration and respect for. I want nothing more than to just stay at this school- this school that’s just a mile down the street, for the rest of my career- so I think that longing gives me that fear of losing it. Plus, it wouldn’t be completely unlikely for them to move me to another school within the district. That would be okay, but really I just want to stay at Parkview, lol!

I had a great experience/thought a couple of weeks ago when there was a snowstorm. It was night time and I was eagerly checking my phone to see if school was cancelled. I was obsessed with the checking school closings, which made me wonder why. I had noticed on previous snowdays, that being home all day didn’t necessarily equate to a great day. In fact, it sort of made me crabby.

So why did I care if we had school or not? My mood seemed better when I was working anyhow.

I think it was the “not knowing” that was making me anxious. When I thought about getting a snowday, I thought about not going to work the next day and I felt a twinge of sadness.

The world is my playground. My work is my playground.

I thought about all of “school” things I wouldn’t be doing at home, and felt that little sadness again. At that moment, my work truly did seem like my playground.

I can’t tell you how wonderful that feeling was!

In fact, I’m feeling more and more like that about the world in general. It’s not just about having fun either, it’s a feeling of belonging as well, and it’s better than any drug out there.

Stomaching Humans

Nice title, eh?

It’s day #1424 of no alcohol, and I’m up early on a Saturday morning pondering life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with humans lately. Why do I have such a hard time with this? Meaning, after many interactions with humans, I’m left feeling confused, not liked, taken advantage of, irritated with– or the fear that I said the wrong thing and put my foot in my mouth.

Surely, that thing that I said will cause everyone to talk and dislike me.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially in regards to work. Work is forefront because in the fall I was plopped into a school where I didn’t know anyone- or have any idea on what to expect.

I was paranoid. The family drama and trauma from a few years ago fed into the local school system (the one which now I was a part of) and I’m always wondering if anyone knows that I’m related. I think these paranoid thoughts have been limiting me greatly.

But that wasn’t the only thing I was paranoid about. I’m constantly reading into people and internalizing their words, actions and attitudes. Many times this school year, I’ve felt disliked. When I wonder why, it makes me think that I must not like myself.. but I really don’t know why that is or where it’s coming from.

Do people really not like me?

Sure, on some days! We’re human and we get irritated or hate on people more than we’d like to admit- but we all do it! We don’t think people roll their eyes at us, but they do. It might have nothing to do with us, but it happens. I’m still siding with my thought from a few years ago: I’d rather be on the receiving end of eye rolls, than the one giving them.

I’ve had a sort of epiphany this week- and really hope it lasts. You see, since the start of the school year, I’ve been working with this underlying fear that I’m not going to be good enough at my job. I would overthink very word or phrase written on an IEP or report card, and be terrified of saying the wrong thing at a meeting. I was like this because of fear of either embarrassment or being disliked by families and/or colleagues.

I felt very disliked in the beginning- where I needed help with everything and didn’t know what people’s personalities were like.

Certain conversations made me think. For example, I was talking to another new teacher a few months ago, and we have the same mentor. She was telling me how hard it is at her school (she does the same job as me, but at another elementary) and how her mentor (who is also mine) was so mean to her. I was taken back, because my mentor has always been supportive and nice to me. Sadly, it made me start to think of my mentor differently and to question her motives. I’m about over it now, that new teacher ended up quitting and I think it probably just wasn’t a good fit for her.

Anyways, up until now I’ve been paranoid and trying to do everything perfectly. I realized though, that while I’m feeling more confident now, parents who were angry at me and mean before, are still angry and mean. Teachers who lost patience with my questions, are losing their patience over other things now that I don’t have questions. It’s THEM and not me!! It has nothing to do with me, and never did! Boy, this is freedom right here- to know this is true.

So now, I feel more relaxed and free. It’s not that I don’t care if I get let go, it’s just that I don’t care if I get let go.

I think that was my underlying fear and my wanting to get asked to come back. Now, I know that if they don’t ask me to come back, then I’m not meant to be there anyway. And it wasn’t a wasted year, it was a year of enormous learning. I might not know the lessons quite yet, but am definitely sure they’re perfect for me.

I think this post might be confusing and make no sense at all.

My point is that I have no idea how to take humans sometimes. I think I’ve spent this school year way too preoccupied with trying to smooth out perceived imperfections. The most difficult part is trying to figure out if this perceived negativity is even real or not. I’m not sure I’ll ever confidently know this answer, so I just need to stop trying to please everyone and do me.

One more thing that I want to mention that adds to my confusion. Some of the people who I struggle with, are very beautiful people- at least physically- but they internally play the show too. They are typically put on a pedestal and very well respected. They are nice in conversation, but I pick up on negativity. For example, twice last week I asked a colleague (different colleagues) a question about something and it ended in a rant. Not a rant at me, but a rant directed at the thing I’m asking about (griping about us having to do it in the first place, or griping about a particular person, etc). I’ve noticed these same people making mean comments and snide remarks about others in their absence. I think when my brain sees these things it’s an automatic red flag and I immediately start to think negatively- and it comes back to me and internalizing these emotions.

I hope that this new way of thinking helps me cope and not internalize the behavior of others.

Why are humans so gosh darn difficult???

Or is it just me?

I Tried to Cure My Autoimmune Disease, and it Nearly Killed Me

It’s finally occurred to me why I can’t get myself to workout (besides the occasional slow walk) or work on my diet.

It hit me during a conversation with my sister. I was telling her, that I just can’t do it. But why? She would ask. You loved working out before- and it was a major saving grace when it came to fighting my depressive and/or anxious thoughts.

I then thought about how I haven’t wanted to die for awhile now. It’s a nice feeling to want to wake up in the morning. I should note that this wasn’t due to mental illness, but a painful physical illness, brought on by my (healthier) dietary restrictions.

Last summer, towards the end, I had had enough. I didn’t know why fluid kept accumulating in my legs and I had no idea on how to fix it- and doubted any health professional could help me.

I knew it could be due to a blood clot, and that it could be deadly. Instead of scaring me, it offered me the hope of relief.

I saw Dr. Jeff in October, and this would be the beginning of the end (hopefully forever!) of my swelling problems. Throughout the months of getting better, I kept thinking of the half-marathon I’m scheduled to run in two months from now. It was so exciting that I was finally getting better and I couldn’t wait to start working out again.

By the time school let out for Christmas break, I felt good enough to start with Pilates and light runs and/or run/walks. I didn’t do anything during the two weeks while I was on break- except for a slow walk on the last day.

I rationalized that it’s easy to be in a routine while working during the week- so I’d rest for the two weeks and resume my workouts in the new year.

Now we are a month into the new year, and I’ve got nothing.

I’ve also wanted to work on my diet- maybe not as strict as before- but experimenting so that I can hopefully feel better. Dr. Jeff recommended that I give up dairy (can inflame joints), so I did for a few days before caving into the easiness of eating without checking ingredients.

I have no excuses. A few weeks ago, my favorite Peloton instructor did a ride with one of my favorite 80’s band and I was so excited to fit it into my schedule. But I haven’t even penciled it in yet. 🤦‍♀️

My knees have been still slightly stiff and painful and Dr. Jeff said that cycling is one of the best things to do, plus I could easily do the ride with little exertion and ease into it slowly, so I truly have no excuses!

I’m still proud of my actions last spring and summer. I think of last April, when I fearlessly dove into all efforts to heal my RA. I spent so much time shopping, meal prepping (haha, remember that GIANT lunchbox I had to start bringing to work with all the containers of fresh food?), and even began to eat meat after 3 years of being vegetarian.

I felt good for the first few weeks, then it went all downhill. I continued to be healthy throughout most of July, then eventually stopped altogether as my legs swelled and I could barely get around.

During that conversation with my sister, I realized something- I had acquired a ton of anxiety in regards to that healthy lifestyle I spent so much effort living. As much as I do want to go back (it felt so good mentally, and honestly the healthy food DID taste different – in an awesome type of way), I’m terrified.

I don’t want to downplay the disease, or offend anyone, but it does seem like I have PTSD relating to the efforts to heal my RA.

Maybe my efforts need to not think about RA at all.

Maybe my efforts should focus on feeding the inside of my body nutritious foods, regardless of how the outside feels. ‘Maybe my efforts should focus on feeding the inside of my body nutritious foods, regardless of how the outside feels.

Last spring and summer, I refused to identify as someone who has RA. I told people that I had “symptoms” or RA or joint disease and was trying to cure it with diet.

When I went to Dr. Jeff, he asked me a question that perplexed me a bit.

“Do you have the real, like old school RA?”

What the hell does that even mean??

I said, “I don’t know- isn’t RA just a collection of symptoms anyhow??”

I don’t remember what we said after that but he never really explained himself and I didn’t even want to ask. He did refer me to a new rheumatologist who he said was more holistic than most.

I saw the new rhuemy, Dr. Dowd in early January.

As he looked at the deformities and swelling in my hands and feet- he asked about my RA factor and if it had been checked recently and told me that my symptoms don’t even look like RA and he wasn’t convinced I had it. He said osteoarthritis was likely (and also caused by eating too many carbs/insulin resistance).

I thought that was funny since all spring and summer, I declared that I don’t have RA 🤣😂🤣

He ordered blood work and xrays and a follow up appointment a few weeks later.

Well, two (or both-I don’t know how many there are) of my rheumatoid factors are sky high, so it looks like I have it. Probably the “old school” RA- whatever that even means.

Dr. Dowd added Methotrexate to my biologic medication. It’s an injection that stings and I HATE it. I’m hoping it helps the pain I’m still having. The last thing I wanted was more medication, but I give up.

SO, if I change my diet because I want to be healthier, treat my body with respect and love and I want healthy food to taste so yummy again– then it seems less intimidating. To focus on my health without worrying about the pain or RA at all is a completely new concept and I think might help me overcome the mental and physical ailments this disease is causing me.

So.. moving forward…

I will take my RA meds diligently.

I will try to think of my disease and health/healthy habits as separate entities.

I will hop on the Peloton this weekend, and I will commit to a regular workout regimen.

If I need help with my diet, I will reach out to one of the coaches I’ve been following. I’ve been considering working with a coach, but apprehensive because they will likely know nothing about my disease, AIP diet, workout limitations, etc. So basically, I was way too smart for a coach.

I feel differently now.

When I sat down to write this out this morning, I didn’t have a solution. I think writing it out made me realize that I need to look at this differently. Taking more medication doesn’t mean that I’m giving up- or can’t live a healthy lifestyle.

Maybe I do have the old school Rheumatoid Arthritis- but that doesn’t even matter.

I think to start being more healthy, I’m going to spend a couple of weeks getting back into a workout routine (very slowly) and paying attention to my water intake. Too many work days go by and I still have a full water bottle at the end of the day. I should have drinken it all and filled it up a couple more times throughout the day. But I drank coffee instead 🤦‍♀️

I’m better than this.

Alright blog, I’m counting on you to keep me held accountable 🙌😁💋

How Far is Heaven?

Thursday, January 26, 2023

It’s just about exactly half-way through the school year.

It always blows my mind, how fast the year goes. You start, before you know it, it’s the end of quarter 1, then mid year and a couple more blinks brings you to summer break, another year under the belt.

I live most my days in misbelief, lol. When I think of my old life, I get really excited. I’m so lucky to be where I’m at, and to have the life experience that I do.

I can’t believe I used to drink every single night. Then again, I can’t believe it’s been almost four years since I’ve had a drink.

I talk to my (almost) 20 year old about drinking, and he doesn’t seem at all interested. He has diabetes, and while he isn’t perfect with managing it, he says he doesn’t want to drink because it’ll mess with his blood sugar. I know he will probably dabble into drinking at some point during young adulthood, but I feel very happy that I stopped. I want to be a positive role model, and drinking until passing out every night, is not a good look.

I don’t normally talk to my 14 year old about drinking, but it has come up. Every time it does, he says the same thing. When he turns 21, he’s going to go into a bar and order a water. And then another one, and another one. For some reason he thinks this is going to be hilarious, and I love it. I’m so proud that both of them have zero interest and am happy that they don’t have drinking parents anymore.

Speaking of my youngest, I’ve been thinking a lot about his new friend group. He’s always been blessed with many friends who all seem to be good little people. Several months ago he started to meet up with a new friend group that he met online (through a real life friend). They’re all local kids from surrounding cities, and are a bit unusual in that many of them are non-binary, some are trans or identify as another gender- I can’t keep track of the names of all the different things kids are these days.

In the past few months, he’s had this friend group over several times and has gone to parties or get togethers with them. I’ve never had an issue with any of his friends, but one thing I’ve noticed is how cool this specific (the non binary) friend group is. They just seem more friendly, happy and genuine- it’s hard to explain. I’ve been thinking alot about it though, and think that maybe they’re more confident than the other friend groups and more authentic because of that, and may seem more real.

The heartbreaking thing is hearing how some of their parents don’t accept their ways and has threatened to throw them out if they aren’t only gay, but dress like the opposite sex.

I know this is a touchy topic, and I don’t want to get into it. I just wish everyone was free to be whomever they wanted to be.

Truth be told, hubby and I were a little nervous to have this friend group over at first and had many questions for our son. It provoked an insightful and nearly delightful conversation about non-binaries, trans, etc. We weren’t afraid of them, don’t get me wrong. But we were worried about saying or asking the wrong things. I’m thankful to be open and to be able to have this conversation with our young teen.

I’m also still in disbelief that I work at a school within walking distance. We had a snow day yesterday, and there was still a bit of snow to get through today. So it took me 7 minutes to get to work instead of my usual 5 🤣😂

We have a new superintendent, and many other new people at the top. It’s a very exciting time to be involved and I’m loving working in my community. I also love that our programming changed this year (this is when my classroom changed to partly self-contained) and is still being developed. It’s exciting to be a part of this and I’m excited to see the new curriculum we’re getting, etc (won’t be till next year).

I love working at Parkview, mostly. It’s such a quirky school in our district! I think it’s right where I belong and I’m sure the Universe had something to do with the last minute change (I was supposed to be at a different school originally). People seem to get moved around alot, and I have no idea if I’ll be at a different school- or they might lay me off altogether-I don’t have seniority so who knows what’ll happen next year. I have a strong feeling though, that I’ll be at Parkview.

I spent years healing my inner child, and it’s paying off. Oftentimes, I’ll be in a situation- or have a conversation and will handle it pretty well (in my eyes, anyway). The blessing is that I seem to automatically remember how that same situation or conversation would go a few years back- and it usually ain’t pretty! That’s always surprising, and always feels amazing! 😊

And then there’s email dad… he’s emailed me two more extremely long and ranting emails. The second one he sent stressed me out.

Until I got to the middle.

Then I remembered, this wasn’t an attack on me. I’m just the sounding board. I think I’m gonna need some boundaries for this situation, I’m just not sure what that looks like yet 😑

I’m not trying to gloat, and please don’t think my life is perfect, it’s far from.

Life has been sad these past few months. Our cat has a deteriorating condition and has been gradually declining for months. Sometimes he has a lot of snot coming out of his nose and he flings it everywhere. He gets on the counter to get a drink, and I don’t have the heart to make him get down, so I keep a giant pitcher up on the counter for him to drink without having to put his head down. I don’t use that counter anymore, I’m sure he’s sneezed all over it. It’s our biggest counter and the main one we’d use, but oh well.

Normally distraught and frazzled when it comes to my pets’ illnesses, I feel that I’m taking this well. It’s frustrating at times though, because while I’m super in tune to how he is doing from day to day (he has bad and good days) my entire family seems completely oblivious. Am I the only one thinking about that horrible decision we might have to make in the near future? Am I the only one who looks at him intently, trying to gauge whether or not he’s in pain day after day? It appears so.

I’m giving him as much love and understanding as I can right now ❤

Also, I saw a new rheumy and he’s bumming me out. He’s not convinced I have rhuematoid or psoriatic arthritis (did blood work to find out more, I go back next week). He doesn’t know what’s going on with me and didn’t seem to know what direction to go in. He did bloodwork and ordered x-rays.

The nurse called to tell me the xrays show that I have inflammatory arthritis. She called me a week later to tell me my blood result show possible early IBD. I have no idea what to make of this, but kind of doubt the rheumy will be able to help me. I’m still taking all the supplements from when I was following Anthony William and have been thinking more seriously about going back on that diet.

But I’m scared, and I’m scared to start working out too. It’s been over a month since I’ve been on the Peloton. It’s not because of my physical health, I’m just worried I’ll get edema like before it was so awful 🤔

I’m also proud. Proud that I can spend most days thinking positive thoughts, and feeling happy, especially when things aren’t going the way I want. I’ve been trying to feel my feelings, like when I get really sad about my cat, but then letting them go, not allowing them to stick and cause my thoughts to spiral.

Gosh I wish I had these coping skills before the age of 40! Better late than never, I guess…

Help Me See this Another Way

Today is Friday the 13th, and quite frankly, I’m scared Sh**less.

It’s been an icky week. As I’m typing how awful it was, I’m realizing, though, that really, it was not a terrible week. No one died, no pets got horribly sick, I didn’t have a ton of appointments- it could have been worse.

On Sunday morning, I got an email from a teacher who got under my skin. Although I tried to put it in the back of my mind, it overshadowed all of Sunday. It wasn’t a horrible email- it’s just a really irritating situation in general.

On Monday, I had to meet with her and my principal. I dreaded the meeting horribly- but it actually wasn’t that bad and we made some progress towards some solutions (the MAIN problem is the lack of staff and support and scheduling teacher assistants-this teacher wants more support than we are able to give her, and it just sucks).

Tuesday was a fine day at work. However, I had the first of 10 classes of this professional development I’m taking. It was Tuesday after work and went until 9:15. The instructor was teaching it like there’s no tomorrow, and any hope of getting out early was lost. I’m very happy it’s online though.

On Wednesday, I received an email that I think will change me forever. It was from a parent, and the worst (angry wise) email I’ve ever received in my life. Unlucky for me, it was to me, and me alone. Lucky for me, it wasn’t an attack on me, personally, so that helped. It stemmed from an unfortunate incident involving the bus and the sub bus driver that morning.

On Wednesdays my hubby goes straight from work to give swim tests to Boy Scouts. He doesn’t get home until I’m in bed and so I wasn’t able to talk to him about it to debrief Wednesday night. I was able to talk to colleagues during the day, but they were just irritated with me. Not at me, just with me.

On Wednesday night and Thursday morning, I begged the Universe to give me a day of positive connections and positive interactions for Thursday. While I did have positive interactions, I was also riddled with technological and other stupid, but minor, problems throughout the day.

On Thursday I gave angry parent’s daughter an assessment and she did incredibly better than when I tested her in the fall. Any joy that I felt about this was overtaken by dark thoughts of that email. It’s not that I was taking it personally, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. In fact, it stole every joyful moment on Thursday.

For the first time in my teaching career, I wanted to quit.

By Thursday night, it was still bugging me. I think that by then, I was more bothered by the fact that it was bothering me, than I was about the actual email.

When hubby asked about it, I told him how I felt. He asked if he could read the email and I asked him to help me see it another way.

You see, I talk to him all the time about seeing things and situations from another perspective. Usually, though, it’s him that won’t let a situation go and me calming him, telling him how useless it is to let it occupy his mind. I think he might be listening.

His response wasn’t profound, but it was extremely helpful.

First he explained that based on the email, this was probably a person who normally cusses while talking and that’s just the way they are. But he pointed out that when the parent wrote fu**ing, he put the stars in there and had the thoughtfulness to sensor it.

Then he reminded me that while this parent was in a horrible situation and feeling so angry that transportation couldn’t help him, he trusted me enough to reach out to me for help.

And that was all I needed to hear, as simple as it may be. And he was right.

I’m still apprehensive, and still kind of want to get out of this field, but I’m feeling much better.

It’s Friday, mid-morning, and so far the work day has been good. I have a few absent today, and we have a three day weekend, so today feels comparatively easy.

I’m still feeling slightly apprehensive about the date, but happily feeling grateful as I wrote this out and realizing that for how awful I felt on Wednesday and Thursday, I really do have so much to be grateful for.

I need to remember that “This too, shall pass.” It might hurt like a kidney stone, but.. ❤

Evolution of a Vision Board

This has been a pretty busy week! Today is the Thursday of the second week of our break. As it comes to a close, work thoughts are creeping in 😫 This week has gone by way too fast!

On Monday morning, I had a call with a practicing psychic, meaning she was practicing her skills on me for no charge. I thought she was pretty good. She said two people (spirits) showed up for me right away and described my grandma and grandpa.

They said a few things, nothing really noteable, but something my grandma said sat with me.

“She just wants you to know that you are loved.” is what the psychic told me.

Basic, I know, and general. But, here’s the thing.. not being liked is an issue I have within myself. I’m oftentimes gauging whether or not people like me. Now, I realize that them liking me, hating me or being indifferent has nothing to do with me. It’s irrelevant to my life and basically none of my business. So, when I get the feeling that someone doesn’t like me, I brush it off and tell myself that haters gonna hate, and he/she is just a miserable twat, etc.

But, what if it wasn’t? What if I could just assume that everyone likes me, unless they state otherwise. I don’t like judging people, and try not to, but isn’t this exactly what I’m doing?

Furthermore, why do I always get this feeling- is it because it’s really me that doesn’t like me? I think, or thought, that I liked myself just fine, but now I wonder considering the thoughts I have.

Coincidently, (as if I believe in coincidences 🤣😂), I started and finished my mandala that same day.

The ‘Mandala’ I’m referring to is pretty much a vision board. It’s an activity that correlates with the Lotus and the Lily soul program.

My thoughts before and while making it centered around this idea about being liked or not. I determined that in order to solve this, I just need to open my heart completely. Just like Michael Singer has been telling me for years via his book, The Untethered Soul.

So my the conditions for manifesting came onto my board as Love. I will do my best to give Love freely, receive Love freely, thank Love freely and to feel Love freely.

I think it’s absolutely perfect, totally fitting and will open doors that may be inconceivable at the current moment.

I added some other favorites onto my mandala, such as the H’oponopono prayer, and actions to take for an awesome and joyful life as well as the name of my year, River Lo Goes With the Flow.

My nickname is Lo & the name means to just go where life takes me, riding it downstream. Like Abraham Hicks says, “Nothing that you want is upstream.”

One of the areas I need to focus growing is to lessen my resistance to things, “going with the flow” you might say. To me, this looks like saying yes, whenever I can- even if it’s very last minute.

I knew that would go on my mandala for a few weeks now, and it coincidentally goes perfectly with opening up my heart ❤️

There are some material or tangible items that I planned on putting on my board, but it just didn’t fit in, and seemed completely unnecessary and frivolous.

It was exciting for me to look at the 3 boards I’ve made to compare.

My boards are pictured below, in chronological order:

Mandala, Fall 2019
Mandala, January 2021
Mandala, January 2023

The one is very basic. Rainforest vacation, long hair, fitness, healthy family, healthy marriage. I guess I was really aiming to be healthy 🤣🤣😂 And boy was I!!! I made this in the fall of 2019, and 2020 was maybe my healthiest year yet.

The best part of this mandala was the unintentional things that occurred (to read more about it, see link below)

I was trying to obtain more healthy habits, and feel that I succeeded- at least when it came to physical health.

By the time I did the Lotus book a second time, I was sharpening my spiritual health. I put ideas such as “Think, Believe, Imagine” for Manifesting and strengthening my intuition and psychic abilities. It’s broken down into 3 learning areas- Spiritual, Mental and Physical. It’s easy to see how these ideas are deeper than my first board.

Now there’s the 2023 mandala. It has no pictures, but the mandala itself is a picture. Most of the phrases would not make sense to most people- but it’s meaningful to me.

Magic is my word for 2023, but I don’t think that made it onto my board 🤦🏻‍♀️

I wonder what kind of magic this mandala will bring me.

I wonder what my next mandala will be like ♥️

No Wine-ing about It

Once in awhile it’ll hit me, how different my life has been these past few years.

Like when I think about my recycle cupboard. The high spot above my fridge- where I’d keep my bottle of poison, along with the many empties I’d produce each week.

This sounds kind of lame, but I sort of felt like a super hero when my large recycle bin no longer contained a surplus of empty kahlua, vodka or wine containers. I also don’t miss my indoor liquor/recycle cabinet.

I don’t have to rotate liquor store stops, or make sure I grocery shop after noon on a Sunday (so I could buy liquor), and the perfect Saturday night is spent happily at home- not out wherever at whoever’s house (basically, wherever I could drink the most 😃).

And, an exchange of messages made me realize how much I don’t miss losing things. Expensive, important things 😬🙄

But this morning it was loading the dishwasher..

All the wine glasses, so awkward. Top rack? Too tall. Bottom rack? Too flimsy. Where do I put these dang things? How can I forget so easily after loading wine glasses daily for like TWENTY years?

The wine glasses fit awkwardly

It was one of those moments when I realized how little I missed such a huge and scary daily obsession. Which is bananas, considering the amount of time I dragged my feet to quit.

It was like hiding behind a large door. The door is strong and solid, and protects me from harm, while comforting my brain and belly, and ensuring the safety it provides.

I got tired of feeling stuck, but didn’t know how to get through that door. Slowly, by listening to podcasts and reading quit lit (books to help quit drinking), I gathered enough tools to slowly take down that door.

Busting through it took a lot of strength, courage, effort and faith.

Sometimes I got scared, and ran back to my safe room, slamming the big heavy door behind me.

But a part of me knew I didn’t belong in there. After many tries, I finally broke the whole thing down. What I saw next was shocking.

Rows and rows of open doors surrounded me. Each one was warm and welcoming. Better yet, I could go through each one without becoming a prisoner.

Those doors are the gifts of sobriety, and they tend to multiply 🤗🕺🏼🎉

So, if you’re on the fence, give yourself a chance or two, you’re worth it 🤍

* 3 Years * 9 Months * 5 Days *

Annoying Last Day

It drives me crazy when I’m cranky- or in a pissy mood for no apparent reason at all. Today is this day. I started waking up annoyed a few days ago, and each day it’s gotten worse.

Now it’s New Years Eve day, and everything is perfect, aesthetically, at least.

My morning was “perfect.” I got up before anyone else and did day 29 of the Lotus and the Lily, meditated and journaled. I woke up almost wanting to make my lemon water, then celery juice and then the heavy metal detox smoothie, but I couldn’t muster the motivation or energy. So, I made coffee. I have the ingredients and will do it, one of these days.

I talked to my sister on the phone, put in a grocery order (for mainly fun and extravagant things for tonight) and on the surface felt accomplished. Deep down, however, I felt and still feel icky.

I think much of it is coming from my frustration with hubby. His brother got insanely mad at him and my oldest son on Christmas for a silly prank they pulled. It wasn’t even a prank, actually. The wrapped his gift in all the boxes and plastic wrap we had at our house. The end result was an enormous present that would take a good deal of time and effort to open it.

On Christmas night, I had gone to bed and my youngest was at his cousin’s house- but my hubby and oldest delivered the great gift to the Uncle. I’m not sure what happened next or how it happened- I just know that Uncle got extremely upset after starting to open it, kicked it across the room, called my kid ungrateful and said some other not-so-nice things, while my hubby and oldest high tailed it out of there!

When I heard what happened the next day, I was sure Uncle would have calmed down and regret his blowup. Hubby thought otherwise and knew he’d be mad and complaining to his parents. As it turns out, Hubby was right and his parents chastised him, saying they’re too old for pranks.

What the actual fuck? Who is too old for pranks, and why the hell are they enabling his awful behavior? Anyways, so it’s been a week and Uncle still won’t talk to my family. Hubby sent him a message the day after, apologizing and that it was for fun, meant no harm and that they should hang out before going back to work. It went unanswered.

I was proud of Hubby for taking the high road and reaching out with compassion. However, it turned to irritation as he was cranky about his family and it really put a damper on the week. What irritated me the most was yesterday, when he was crabby and complaining about his parents (there are a few other things going on too- mostly with his great aunt who has been ill). Shortly after complaining to me, he took a call from his mom and was acting fine.

I don’t understand this. If I’m angry with one of my family, I do not act like everything is fine. I’m at the very least short with them, they are gonna know I’m upset! This resulted in me feeling like a punching bag, which will be reciprocated the next time he complains about them. I will not allow him to drag me down behind the scenes while being nice and normal to everyone else, particularly those who he is complaining about. Is that being an unsupportive spouse?

And now I realize that all I’m doing is complaining about his complaining- so I better stop.

I’m spreading the negativity and attracting more of it! I was going to write about some other irritating things right now, but think I should probably just make a list of everything that is currently making me happy.

  • It’s the last day of 2022! It’s been okay, but I’m ready to leave it in the past and move onto bigger and better things
  • I have so much good food to eat tonight (I’m way too busy fantasizing about the food to even remember that I won’t be drinking)
  • I don’t have to go back to work on Monday
  • I got some cool new journals and materials to make witch bells- they can occupy me when I get bored
  • It’s mild outside
  • All that good food…
  • My grocery delivery will be here soon
  • I have the knowledge and resources to eat healthier and live a healthy lifestyle after this weekend
  • I have a home
  • I have family to love, and who loves me
  • All the good thing to look forward to in 2023!

That helped a little, but still feels kind of fake, lol. I think it’s PMS and hormones- and probably not working out for months is affecting me too.

I’m going back to bed. Wake me when it’s 2023.

The Holiday Recovery Game

This is a game I’m losing, hardcore. I have way too many cookies leftover and my sweet tooth is dominating my dreams of eating healthy again.

I ate more desserts than real food (well, if you call the standard American diet, real food..) these past few days. I feel really gross about now. Yesterday, the day after Christmas, I made a Liver Rescue Smoothie for the first time. It was really good and felt good to be ingesting real, living, high vibrational food.

I’m so lucky that I’m a recovering alcoholic. Instead of beating myself up over all the indulging, I can be proud for not drinking- yay me!

All in all, the holidays were just a mild nuisance this year. The more I think about it, the more I kind of wish we didn’t celebrate Christmas. I can see now, how the perfect storm brewing from expectations, family drama, family stress, back-to-back family parties, stress about gifts, etc etc … can make one feel like they’ve been through a natural disaster.

I was very happy to work until 12/23, which is very late for us. While others were complaining, I played devil’s advocate and said how happy I was to get that dang holiday over with and still have most of my break left. Most of the time, Christmas lands in the middle, then our vacation is half over already.

I was even happier to have a snow day on Friday, 12/23!! It was such a great gift. We had been watching the storm for about a week, wondering if we’d get our wish, and we did!

That night, something crazy happened.

I woke up to sirens, but didn’t think much of it, except my dog was acting a little ancy. Even after the sirens had stopped, he kept whining and I thought he probably just had to go outside, or heard an animal outside or something. I was half asleep for I don’t know how long, and I thought I kept hearing voices in the distance.

I finally got up and opened my shades to see reflections of emergency flashers on our lawn. The view of the street was obstructed by a big bush, so I couldn’t tell what it was.

I got up to check it out. As soon as I walked into the living room, I could see a firetruck through the front door, parked right in front of my house. I walked across the room to our big window and opened the curtains. What I saw outside was a big shock. All up and down the street were emergency vehicles. There were about six fire trucks, two ambulances, and a couple other vehicles with lights.

Is it our house that’s on fire? I absentmindedly thought in my sleepy stupor. Of course not, I countered, they would have probably let us know if that were the case. But I couldn’t see anything on fire and all the emergency vehicles were centered in front of our house, which is why I thought maybe it was our house.

I woke up hubby, who was as shocked as me, and we watched for hours while groups of firemen kept coming in and out of our neighbor, Rick’s house. Rick is the nicest guy, who walks his dog up and down our street multiple times a day and talks to every neighbor he passes by. We were very worried about him with the amount of emergency workers and two ambulances that weren’t going anywhere, and were certainly in no rush. In fact, one of them backed into our ditch and got stuck- a tow truck had to come and get it out. It was all such a crazy night!

I initially got up at 2:30am and finally laid back down around 5 to get some sleep. Hubby said they packed up not too long after, and then he saw Rick get into his car and leave, so we know he’s okay, but still haven’t seen him or found out what happened. It was all weird- the firemen were going in with axes, and towards the end went in with a chainsaw running. There are no signs of fire that we can see from the street.

The following day was Christmas eve, and I knew I’d have to work hard to stay grounded and sane for the next 48 hours or so.

We went to my dad’s on Christmas eve, and now that he has a wife now, it’s a lot nicer. The house was clean and decorated and set up so cute and her food was amazing. My dad did an awesome job as a single parent, but I really missed having a mother figure around and really like Ronda. She is so down to earth, and seems full of joy and gratitude, despite a lot of hardships she’s gone through (like growing up in the foster system, meeting her many siblings and having a relationship with them only as an adult, and losing an adult son to addiction).

I survived the night unscathed!

The following day, Christmas, I was starting to feel ancy. I hadn’t done my morning ritual (reading a page from my soul program, the Lotus and the Lily, meditation and journaling) in two days. It was evident how important that little ritual is for my mental health. I’m used to getting up way before anyone else and having the quiet, dark house all to myself.

Christmas morning started busy, and I didn’t have time to do my ritual after the kids opened their gifts. We got ready and I told my family to go ahead and go to the inlaws. I needed to meditate before going over there, or else I was gonna lose my shit. They live behind us, so it would just be a quick walk over. I couldn’t feel the effects of my meditation session, but am sure it helped me stay happy all night.

All was well in the land of the in-laws. I breezed through situations that would have left me in tears before recovery. They weren’t bad situations, just perceived as bad due to my poor mental state, lack of self-awareness, coping skills and emotional health. I left feeling drained, exhausted, relieved and proud..

That was two days ago, and I’m finally almost recovered from it all. I’m back to getting up before anyone else and taking care of my head. Hubby is off this week with me, and we’ve spent the past couple of days putzing around town looking for good deals and eating at real dives.

I’m feeling overall optimistic and it feels wonderful. I’m excited for New Years and believe that 2023 is going to be an amazing year.


I Only Stuff My Face at Night

I probably mentioned this 100 times, but I’m doing the Lotus and the Lily soul program for the third time. One of the last days, has you think of a movie title that describes your life. My immediate thought was like, River Lo; Goes with the Flow. After much thinking, I knew that I’m not there yet, my resistance is strong at times.

So, thinking about the past year.. the movie title I came up with, is: Gimme, Gimme.

It was about a year ago, I took Reiki I and II classes and vowed to heal myself. Lisa, my teacher, talked about purging old emotions, including not only my own trauma, but my ancestors trauma as well.

But, that’s not what I really did.

I continuously looked outside for the answer. Physical therapy, grounding, vibrating plate, rebounder, massager, sauna… if it promised to purge toxins and/or cure pain, then I was fully vested.

And I still catch myself doing it.

And while I did do a good job of staying on the AIP diet, I never gave up cacao- which I was supposed to (according to most AIP diets. Some allow it- which is why I was okay keeping it-plus I knew it would help me be successful with this diet). I reintroduced eggs, but probably not properly, but kept eating them anyway. Having eggs made the diet a bit easier too.

I think you know the rest of the story. August was too busy- I went back to eating the standard American diet and stopped cleansing with juices and smoothies. And now it’s December, and I’m still here.

Some days I eat great, until nighttime. Some days I hardly eat at all, until nighttime. And some days I eat junk all day long. Those days are rare, thank goodness!

The confusing part is that I feel SO much better than I did in the summertime. I’m still sore and some days its hard to get up and down. Most days I feel almost normal with motrin. For weeks now, I usually only take motrin or tylenol in the morning. It’s hard to believe that I was taking both 3-4 times daily very regularly over the spring and summer. My weight is back to normal (I gained 20 pounds when my leg edema was at its worst), and I feel like I can start working out again.

And I have crazy thoughts of doing that diet again! I know I need to work on it, but am pretty scared now of picking up bad symptoms- like edema. I keep thinking that I’ll just cut out dairy and gluten and start with those. That would be fairly doable and when I brought it up to my hubby, he mentioned that he would do it with me and that he wants to eat better too. Starting it is a whole nother thing.

I hate that this is so cliche, but I just have January in my head as a starting. With holiday festivities coming up, it seems pointless to try to crack down. I’m going to do the best that I can. I want to start training for that half marathon in April. I’ll start working out again over break- and will start slow and gradually increase. I can’t wait until I can run again!

Plus, life has been insane with work lately. I started the new schedule with my new classes this week. The kids are doing great, and seem to be happy and comfortable. The adults, could take a lesson from the children.

That was mean. “Kindness made me kind.” is the affirmation I use when my mean comes out.

It’s been an adjustment for everyone. And really, for the most part, everyone has been great. There are little hiccups here and there, but they are getting smoother everyday. I even got observed this week- I think even twice!

I couldn’t tell you exactly what I was doing the first time, except teaching writing to the self-contained class across the hall. These students have significant disabilities, but I’ve been teaching them writing all year, so we’re into a routine and I’m sure the observation went fine. The second time was yesterday, Friday. It was very busy when she came. I had 5 students in my room and 3 parapros. They oversaw the students working while I pulled two students aside to give them quick assessments. I think it went well, except that my newest student continued to grab at my mask every time I got near him. It was so annoying, lol, but in his defense, it’s the first time I wore a mask with him there. She knew what would be going on, and I think was impressed.

I never felt as nervous as looking at her in her apprehensive eyes and assuring her that I’m okay with this class change and think that it truly is the best thing to do (she is new to our district too, and this is quite different than what we did pre-pandemic times). I’m glad she saw it so busy and running well.

Besides all the kinks, I’m really liking this new schedule and groups. I enjoy teaching and had time to do read-alouds this week and create corresponding activities that practiced different skills. It felt so much less rushed and so much more productive than before. I feel like a real teacher and even will have papers to bring home and grade sometimes 😊

I’m really connecting with the students and learning what gets me excited now- like when I’ve been trying to teach a 2nd grader all year long to differentiate between adding and subtracting and he not only does it independently now, but I’ve caught him catching a mistake with a tool I printed for him and it gives me that joyous feeling!

One of my favorites is my youngest, M. She was my most difficult student in the beginning and I was pretty terrified of her. She was awful. She didn’t want to come with me half the time, and whined and argued with everything. She has speech apraxia and you can’t understand her words which made it even harder.

Let’s go back to the very first day of my new job. I woke up to an owl hooting. I took it as a good sign that I was where I was supposed to be and thought it was a good omen.

At some point, M discovered a stuffed owl I’ve had in my classroom since last year. I let her play with it and we made a game out of her hiding him for the next student and finding him when she comes in. The owl was our turning point.

A month later, M was routinely knocking on my door on her way to the bus- just to give me a hug. Her parapro would apologize for interrupting, but M was persistent. And no one could have known that I needed that hug more than her.

I kind of laugh when I look back at the beginning. I seemed so incompetent and didn’t know anything- but it’s amazing how quickly we can learn and grow. Some things are still hard, but I love it at my new school. And I LOVE my five minute drive! I dream of the days that I ride my bike to and from work. It never happened this fall because of leg edema, but if I keep improving, I can ride when winters over.

That’s about it. All is well. But I still stuff my face at night ❤