Get On With It


It’s been a little over a year since my diagnosis, and a year yesterday for surgery. Wow, what a whirlwind ride this has been.

I’m thankful to still be here. I’m thankful to have hair, even though it’s white now.

I promise I am not going to dwell on this forever, but since I’ve been riddled with anxiety for the past week over just about everything, this is part of my healing process.  I have to process these thoughts, learn to manage the emotions and the overwhelm.

What has changed?  Everything.

OH, on the surface onlookers may think I’m the same old same old. but I’m not. I am learning to make myself a priority –  still learning, still trying to use that word NO, and still doing the self-talk to tell myself I’m worth it. Because you know what?  I am!

We all are.  Each one of us deserves a fulfilling life and to achieve our own happiness.  Each of us is a unique one of a kind original. It’s hard to keep that in mind at times when the lemming tendencies of our society scream that we need to fit in and do what everyone else is doing.

How are we ever going to stand out from the crowd if we are doing the same thing, looking the same, wearing the same hairstyle?  There is nothing wrong with being ourselves.  There is nothing wrong with being who you are, regardless of that mean bitch from school says.

Screw her! OH wait,  most of the guys already have!

That was a joke, sort of.

We need to stop being influenced by those mean girls and the pretty people. They are a minority and we outnumber them into the millions. Why do we ever care what they think?

For me,  I’ve always had this element of people pleasing. It’s a lifelong habit that I’m working on breaking.  It’s part of exercising that word NO.

What do you think?  What do you want to do? I”m not saying that you do whatever you want even if it’s illegal or immoral. I’m talking about pursuing your dreams, setting goals for yourself and learning to get our thoughts in line with drawing what we truly want out of life.

There are times when the overwhelm is just too much for me. This was never an issue before cancer. I’ve been thinking about why that is.  Part of it, as listed in the side effects of the chemo meds I have to take is increased anxiety. OH, joy! But I take the meds because I want to live cancer free.

Part of it, I’ve deduced is because I’ve spent a lifetime stress eating and putting myself into a food stupor when I was overwhelmed so that I could numb myself from the pain and anxiety.  Do you think overweight people simply eat too much?  It’s so much more than that.

OK, you take someone who has put on twenty pounds because they’ve been hitting the pizza and beer too often and no biggie,  they cut down on their consumption and within a short time have taken the weight off. But a fat person?  I mean someone who has been overweight for a long time, maybe their whole life, it’s a psychological issue as much as it is about overeating.  Hence the yo-yo up and down the scale.

Anyway,  this isn’t about being fat or me being frustrated that the weight isn’t coming off faster. This is ultimately about change and learning to control the thoughts and emotions.

Some things change quickly –  surgery – I had cancer, they removed the tumors.

Some things take time –  it took many treatments for the radiation to be effective.

Some things take even longer – learning to eat differently, learning new habits, learning new limitations.

Ultimately though, aren’t we all learning? Whether we are adjusting to dietary limitations, or physical limitations or emotional,  we have to overcome, adapt, and learn what our best is each and every day.  Maybe today it’s learning that “I’m OK. Tomorrow it may be “I can’t do that but I can tackle this.”

Early in the week, I was a whirlwind of energy and productivity. Yesterday I fell into a pit of overwhelm and could barely function.  I was a mess of tears, snotting and snorting and nearly hyperventilating. My friend Misty talked me down. She walked me through the sensory steps,  reminded me of the four agreements, and then my husband called around lunchtime and told me to throw away my list.

 NO, not my list! The LIST is like, THE PIRATE CODE.

Cue increased panic.

He reminded me that nothing on my list was mandatory. (But,  it’s my list.  I don’t list unnecessary things to do.) Nothing is mandatory and has to be done today.  The only mandatory things on the list were my day job, getting my blog post up (because it was a personal goal) and making sure I did my physical therapy.

As I glanced over my precious list of twenty-seven items, I realized he was right. As much as I wanted to get those other things accomplished and checked off the list –  only list makers will get that – the world was not going to end if I waited for another day to try to tackle them.

One of those items was a social situation with someone that causes me continued stress. At the end of the day, I realized that it was in my own best interest to say NO, and bow out. The second part of that is allowing myself to not fret over the decision and accept that I need to take care of myself.

Why does it have to be so hard to say no? What is it that I was so afraid of? That they would be mad at me? They don’t like me anyway. Hard to imagine, but they don’t.

I refer to Agreement Number 2: Don’t take anything Personal. Nothing others do is because of you. What others do or say is a product of their own reality, their own dreams and actions. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of suffering.

Breathe.

Inhala . . . exhala . . . and now I can get on with it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Hello Beaches!


Happy Friday! I lift my cuppa to you.

You might think that I am trying to be super clever with a play on the word,  for all of my B**** friends. Sorry, no. Although, I lift my cup to you as well.

I recently had a major run in with a mean girl B that was callous, insensitive, and absolutely rude. Not inclined to humor those who think it’s funny to be an absolute B to others and think it’s all good because it isn’t. I think more of someone who takes the time to be kind than blast another person. Alas, it seems kindness is a dying art.

But, since I went there I guess I can tie in my vent with the theme for today. Let me refill my cup, while I think of just how to do that.

Ah! That’s better. Today is the 52-week MFRW blog challenge, Week 33 – What I Do to Recharge. 

Coffee is what I do to charge in the morning,  not necessarily recharge. By late afternoon after you’ve dealt with horrible people and want to strangle someone, I really don’t need more coffee or else I’d be wearing an orange jumpsuit. Not a good look for me and I’m not interested in being Beulah’s latest girlfriend.

Ah, but we’ve hit part of the topic there, for the reason we need to recharge. Honestly, if we just did our work day in and day out, it does tend to be a bit of a grind, but it gives you a feeling of satisfaction to know that you’ve been working.  It’s kind of like going to the gym.

At first, your muscles are sore and protest. ‘We don’t want to exercise. We like being soft. Don’t make me do that.’ It’s your job to be drill seargent and whip those saggy wing flaps into shape, get that bounteous backside in tight formation, and push the thunder thigh twins to peak performance. “Ugh! But it hurts. I don’t wanna”

Shut up and give me ten more.

“Wah!” 

Just for that let’s make it fifteen more. 

By the end of the third week, however,  things are beginning to take shape, and show signs of improvement. Another couple months of this and the troops may just thank you for it. Or not, by nature we are lazy.

The point is though, that if it were just doing the work,  it would be a cake walk. After a few weeks of disciplined work, we’d feel great about ourselves, our abilities, our strengh. . . . but it isn’t just that.  We have to deal with people.  It’s people that create the stress.

No, it isn’t it’s deadlines and demanding schedules. 

Who makes the deadlines? Who gives us the demanding schedules? Who creates the stress in our day? PEOPLE!

The difficult client that refuses to listen to what you are telling them.  The customer that is rude in the checkout line simply because they don’t want to have to wait in line like everyone else. The person who nearly runs you over with their cart in the grocery store because they are in a hurry.

THIS is what causes the stress. OK, let’s be honest, it can be our own dearly beloved family members as well.

Mo -mmmm, where’s the scissors?”

“Why?”
“I need them for a school project.”

ten minutes later. “Since when is cutting your sister’s hair a school project????”

Take me away Calgon. Maybe forget the Calgon and go for Captain Morgan. However, since I can no longer imbibe anything stronger than Welch’s . . . . Oh right, Cancer! Health issues can be another stressor.

So now we have a list:

  • rude and impatient people
  • kids
  • demanding schedules
  • health issues
  • self or other imposed deadlines
  • add your own personal pet peeve here

I may as well as add that last line because we all know we have them. When people violate them, we get all sorts of bent out of shape. Whether it’s dropping the towel on the floor in front of the towel rack, ( “Come on! It’s 3 seconds to hang it up!”) OR the dirty clothes on the floor. . . five inches from the hamper. OR dirty dishes in the sink. (Where did these come from? I JUST washed all of the dishes!) See what I mean?  Most of our stress comes from other people! SIGH

But then again, our lives would be pretty boring if we were in isolation. Isolation is one of the forms of punishment in prisons and concentration camps.  It’s said to be one of the cruelest punishments.  There are days I wonder if it really is punishment, though. How long do you think you would last in true isolation?

So, back to the top.  My little run in with the mean girl who has ruined it for me for those “Friends” who delight in being B****es.  I started taking part in this program offered at the YMCA for Cancer survivors. It’s a free, 12 week program designed to get you back into shape after treatment.

OH man, do I need it!  Radiation treatments themselves don’t hurt,  but the cumulative effect causes fatigue. . . and burns.  We won’t talk about the burns. Shudders – thank GOD they have healed!  I thought I knew what fatigue was before going through this. NOPE. Got a whole new appreciation for it first hand.  My stamina is nonexistent, and my muscles are weak. It’s like learning to walk all over again. OK, so maybe not quite that bad, but having been able to do 45 minutes of cardio a year ago, to struggling to do ten minutes without stopping. . . it’s frustrating and emotionally draining.

I found out last week that part of the reason that my fatigue was so bad, is that during the course of tests and all, they also discovered that I have diabetes. OH JOY! So, I’m trying real hard to follow the guidelines for this new diet.  My doctor told me that I should aim for 15 grams of carbs or less. So that was what I was doing. For the day. He didn’t specify that was for each meal, that my daily total should be 45,  I’ve been making sure I only had 15 for the day!~ So yeah, I have been exhausted. No carbs, no energy. Part of the hair loss is probably because I haven’t been eating. Part of the fatigue from radiation is probably due to no carbs.  So a little self-induced stress to add to the mix.

Anyway, the mean girl . . . a fellow Pink sister (Can you believe that? Wait, it gets better!) comes up to me after the class to inform me that they were talking about me, and they noticed that I am lopsided and I should really refrain from wearing sports bras.

 

Really?  REALLY??  OH, let me get right on that! Heaven forbid my less than perfect physique should interfere with your rose colored glasses outlook on life where everything is picture perfect. This from a fellow survivor who just the week before admitted that she had been admitted to the stress unit for suicide watch because of depression post-surgery before she got implants. REALLY ? And you think it’s OK to point out someone else’s flaws?????

Mean B****es can suck it!

AAARRRRGGHH!

Yeah,  I’m stressed. I need some down time that isn’t medically induced.  I need some refreshing. I’ve been pushing myself hard to get this book out in time for Penned Con. In the past week, I’ve added 11,000 words. I’ve wrapped an editing job for an author, and I have to say this second book is better than the first in the series. I don’t say that very often.  My life has been a scary rollercoaster ride since April. (Jane! Stop this crazy thing!) My eldest daughter left for college on Monday – yet another change to adapt to.

It’s about time for some refreshing.

My husband scheduled vacation time to take me to my favorite place – the beach.

There is just something calming, relaxing, and refreshing about the salt wind, and the constant sounds of waves crashing on the sand. I could do without the seagulls, but since they are a package deal I suppose I will have to deal with them.

“That’s great and all,  but stress happens every single day.

What do you do to refresh on a daily basis?”

I play Sudoku puzzles.  I play match three games on Facebook. It’s addictive. There’s this Fishdom game, and I run out of lives nearly every day. I often play those games on my tablet when my husband is watching funny cat videos.

I read. I read my morning devotional, and take a few minutes to pray. I’m  doing my cleansing breaths in the morning,  mid afternoon, and sometimes right before bed.

I would very much like to get back to crafting, but I will need more energy in order to tackle that.

I sometimes crochet, but honestly, it’s been too hot to have yarn lay over my lap. I’ve been having a cup of chamomile tea in the evenings before bedtime. I’ll be glad when the weather is cooler, we can sit by the firepit and enjoy some cocoa and watch the sunset. As Ferris said so long ago:

 

So, welcome to my  stress/chaos/ ADD world. Yeah, I know. I covered about four topics there, but really they are all tied together. Don’t argue with me, they are. Don’t stress me out man! LOL

Thanks for stopping by. Find what other authors in this blog hop have to say their dreams are for ten years from now here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some other posts in this series from yours truly:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor
  8. A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor
  9. I’ll take What is Purple Prose for 50 Alex #MFRWauthor
  10. Ellie’s Guilty Pleasures #MFRWauthor
  11. How Do You Do That? #MFRW

There are more but I don’t have the links done yet. I will eventually when I get to it. I’ve been working on Roxy! Don’t pressure me!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Get Your MOJO On!


You know it’s Monday when . . .   I won’t go into details but as to Mondays, this has to be one of the top 5 all time worst Mondays in my personal history.  It’s one of those ‘Murphy was an optimist’ days. The worst part  is, I am out of all types of aspirin/Tylenol/ibuprofen/ whatever  headache meds you could think of and I have one of those head in a vice types of headaches. UGH!

Anyway, the whole point of my  post is to get out of the funk not rehash the funk. So here goes!

Soak time!

Soak time!

Top 10 Ways to Destress

  1. Deep Breaths – whether you practice yoga, or sitting upright and taking deep cleansing breaths. Try it. Go ahead, right there at your desk.  Back straight, chin up – take a deep deep breath filling your lungs completely, then slowly with controlled breathing exhale. As you do, mentally imagine the stress falling off of you into the floor where someone else can sweep it up. Repeat this about 5 times. You can do this a few times a day.  Most of us fall into the routine of shallow breathing.  Take a moment to care for your mental health  as well as your physical –  more oxygen gives you a better complexion as well! BONUS!
  2. Sing –  you don’t have to do karaoke or have a microphone, just sing!  In your car, in your shower, in your living room, wherever! This isn’t for others entertainment, this is for your peace of mind. Music soothes the frazzled nerves the same as it does the savage beast.
  3. Take a Hike –  get your blood pumping. Sometimes it helps to simply get up and move around. A walk down the hallway to the bathroom in another part of the building has a twofold benefit. The extra steps help to get your blood pumping and  you get to see different scenery. Amazing what a difference a little bit of newness can do for your outlook!  When I worked at the county courthouse, I would  occasionally take the stairs to  the third floor bathroom because they had a very nicely decorated and clean bathroom while the one on our floor, basement level, tended to be kind of grungy. The bright white porcelain tiles on the third floor had the effect of lifting my spirits. I guess that it didn’t hurt that it was away from the traffic court and domestic violence court either. We would often go for a brisk walk at lunchtime to get some fresh air; weather permitting.
  4. Keep a Journal – It is amazing  looking back at some of my journal entries. There are times when I would be complaining about something trivial things and realize after reading through them  how self-absorbed I had been. There are times when my journal entries were  working through difficult situations and  I had to remind myself of the blessings that I did have. There are times that I journaled about fun things, exciting moments,  a kind deed that someone else did for me that lifted me out of the current bit of self-pity. (Make sure you read my other posts about my current journaling obsession – the bullet journaling entries. )
  5. Make a List – You know you are already making the mental list and stressing over how you are going to get it all done. So take the step and write down your todo list. With focused efforts you can tackle each item and then mark it off of the list – YAY!  This is another feature that my bulletjournal helps me with, because those tasks that I don’t get to today are first on my list for the next day. I simply make a little arrow, then move then to the next day.  I am a list maker because  it helps to clarify my otherwise chaotic brain.
  6. Work on a brain teaser – There is value in that crossword puzzle, word search, or my personal favorite Sudoku. It keeps your brain sharp, while allowing you a few minutes of not thinking about the current problem, which your brain can work on in your subconscious and the brief distraction can often help destress and clear your brain clutter at the same time.
  7. Time Out –  A little down time nappy nap is a good thing. Not while you are driving,  not while you are  in  the department meeting, but when the mid afternoon slump hits you, a brief snooze is a good thing.  My husband is not a good napper. Brief naps don’t really help him and he wakes more cranky and drained than refreshed. For me though, a twenty-minute nap can revive my previous walking dead state.  This is one benefit to working at home,  whether I choose to take my dog for a walk, or get a power nap (Yeah, I know that is an old term and shows my age) there is no one there to  tell me I can’t.
  8. Eat healthy – After the high fat, high sodium, girdle busting  heavy super nachos  deluxe that I prepared for the big Superbowl party, the soup and salad are a welcomed refreshing meal. There is a time for the  comfort foods then there is a time for the lighter fare.
  9. Visualize – Take some time to  SEE your future, SEE how that project will look finished, SEE yourself reaching that goal, SEE yourself succeeding.  BE the ball! A couple of suggestions that I would have for you here are to 1)make a dream board –  to keep in front of you for those days when you are mentally lagging. 2) Take 5 minutes at the beginning of the day to visualize yourself  accomplishing your tasks today and working towards your goal. This will change your outlook from the daily grind to  an outlook of satisfaction. Attitude really does make a huge difference!
  10.  Vacation – Time away to recharge, refresh, renew!  Disclaimer here – a working vacation is not relaxing. Do NOT take your work with you and think that you are going to be able to unwind because you won’t.  YOu’ll be stressing over how to get this done, and how you are going to that, and now you will be worrying  about what if their wi-fi connection doesn’t work. Just don’t! Value yourself enough to give yourself a break!

Now for a bit of  challenge catch up.  For the next few days, I will add the bit from #authorlifemonth at the end of my posts.

12645120_1563117137341642_1714784271782014476_n

My February Challenge for 2016 is #authorlifemonth. I’ve already shared 1 thru 4 on February Challenge .

Day 5: Comp covers – I don’t have any comp covers as Red Wine & Roses is a stand alone romance novel.

Day 6: fan art/edit:  To my knowledge, I don’t have any fan art anywhere, unless of course someone wants to share their art with me.  Edit:  A few people have pointed out some typos in the book for me,  so before I order more print copies, I’ll   make revisions to the formatted copy.

Day 7: Writing Music – umm wow!  I could do and have done entire posts on this one.  My playlists are unique for each book that I write. Heavy metal seemed to dominate for writing about dragons. I queued a lot of romantic songs for Red Wine & Roses, a mixture of pop, rock, classic rock, some heavy metal are on the playlist for Valkyrie’s. Perhaps I will share about that in the upcoming month for a post.

Day 8: Awesome moment. Hmmm, not sure exactly what  is intended here but  let’s proceed.  An awesome moment in writing RWAR, was the moment of tragedy.  I could see it playing out in my head like a movie.  I kept replaying it, pausing it, playing in slow motion over and over again so that I could get my descriptions down to my satisfaction.  I am pleased to say that this section did not require much revision.  To me, that is a bit of good writing!

For the next few days I will be sharing  these items at the bottom of my posts,  maybe splitting the  weekend facts  . . . not sure.

Anyway,  here’s to a healthier you all around in 2016!  You are valuable –   start treating yourself like it!

 

 

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And So It Begins


images (4)

First off – I know  you are waiting for a full report from Penned Con. It’s coming, but I want to give it the full attention it deserves.  I am  assessing my notes, making some new notes,evaluating the event,  and processing a whirlwind couple of days. I promise to give my full report soon. Just not today.

Today, I am asking something of my readers.  Something that I wouldn’t normally ask.  Tonight I begin a journey of exploration into my psyche as part of a counseling course, to deal with root issues in my life that stem from  abuse, rejection, living with an alcoholic parent, living with a self-absorbed parent,  and a variety of other issues that a lifetime of living has brought.

I’ve not made any secrets about my past,  about the skeletons in my closet.  I’ve not candy coated or diluted much of anything. NO, I haven’t divulged nitty-gritty details, this isn’t a horror story. I am not blaming anyone else for my problems.  They may have begun way back there but I have been a responsible adult for some time now and my decisions are my own.  My reactions to things are my own. Some of those reactions have become a real issue in  my relationship with my husband. He’s been an absolute amazing guy  and  if there is anything I can do to fix me, I will. I have caused him  a tremendous amount of pain, and  I feel horrible for the pain that I have caused.

So, I start this class tonight and for the next 12 weeks. It is going to be intense. It is going to be emotional.  It is going to force me to deal with issues that I’ve pushed under the rug for years. I have to face my demons full on. That’s where you, my readers come in. Patience, hang in there with me, and  maybe a word of encouragement now and again by leaving a comment.

Today, before the first counseling session – which lasted an hour and a half – I started an online course that I have to pass in order to renew my mortgage license.  Last several years when I took the course, I’ve passed with a 92 to 100%.  You can imagine my shock when after the first section of the course I failed that module with a 62%.  Yeah, my mojo is definitely off. My ability to focus  has dropped off the bottom of the chart and still plummeting.

I have deadlines looming for work projects, the first of which is passing this course to renew my license by a deadline that has always been December 31, but has been moved up to October 1.  Nothing like a little extra pressure, right?   I have a technical writing gig that the deadline has been extended  for two weeks because of a variety of things on my end and theirs. Thank goodness they gave me an extension.

Family issues, financial burdens, emotional baggage all combined to a cumulative of  off the chart stress.

So, hang with me please.  I haven’t completely given up and I haven’t lost very last brain cell.  It’s just a stressful time, and I have to make some hard choices about self-evaluation.  Cyberhugs accepted! Sometimes you just have to yell: ” Jane! Stop this crazy thing!” and get off for a while.

How do you handle stress?  How do you face your demons, or do you? Have you ever sought counseling for your issues? Do you view people who seek counseling as broken? Damaged?

That’s it in a nutshell.  I shall follow-up soon with a full report on Penned Con.  It was an awesome 2 days that opened my eyes to numerous possibilities and shattered a few ideologies I had built up in my mind. But life presses in and demands my full attention in other areas.

So while I am undergoing psycho-analysis, and battling demons –  write on and remember to tune back in for Penned Con updates soon.