a bit of this, a bit of that

The National Weather Service is predicting our first “fall like” storm tomorrow.

For Seattle, that means rain, wind, possible power outages.

It means that fall is closing in on us, and I’m ready for it!

It’s been a hot dry summer here in the PNW, and I’m ready for rain, cooler temps, and hot soups for dinner )along with a load of fresh bread with a nice crust). I’m not complaining. At my age, I try to remain grateful for every day I can swing my legs out of bed and get ready for another day!

Ha!

Kids are getting ready to go back to school-my youngest grandchild is taking advanced placement courses and Chinese this fall. Where does the time go?

I got my free copy of Windows 10 (FREE) and downloaded it to my laptop. It’s working pretty good so far.

Washington State has been dealing with lots of wildfires; I’m hoping the rain helps put some of these fires out. I’m not always a praying kind of gal, but I’ve been sending out good thoughts and hoping our neighbors and firefighters stay safe.

I’ve not been blogging a lot these days, because Facebook is so damn easy. I sometimes think about the days I would rush home and get ready to push out my daily blog posts. Hell, a long Facebook post is three paragraphs! Add a picture or a smiley face and you’re done!

As for my reading, I’m re reading the “In Death” series of books, in order. I own a lot of them, and borrow the rest from local libraries. On Kindle, of course.

It’s been almost 14 months since I retired, and I’m still in a kind of weird space. I’m really enjoying not working. I miss the money, of course, but my heart just isn’t into going out and working every day. I’m enjoying looking after the family, doing yard work, trying out new recipes, and sleeping in once in a while. It’s a lot less stressful, and something I’ve needed to do for myself for a long time.

So if you take the time to read this, I thank you and hope you are doing well.

Come on, Fall!

Seattle pcs

Seattle pic

The photo above is one of mine, taken a few years ago at the Seattle waterfront.

Me and social media: Why I need to chill out

Social media is great.

I’m on Facebook every day, Twitter every few days, and I like being able to stay in touch with everyone.

But I find myself starting to get worn out by all the problems in this world. Cops killing people during traffic stops, the abortion issue, the presidential race, wildlife being slaughtered for sport.

You get my drift, right?

I retired to take life easier, to slow down and enjoy myself for a change.

And I’ve done pretty well, except when it comes to social media.

I’m feeling emotionally exhausted, worn out by all of the injustices in this world.

After all, our thoughts become our actions, right?

Resolved: I’m going to chill the hell out on social media. Every time I feel my blood pressure inching upward (“Trump said WHAT?”), I’m going to stop myself and think about purple flowers, cute babies, funny jokes, and inspirational quotes. I’m going to close my eyes, and do some on the spot meditating.

And I’m going to stop reposting about causes, problems, injustices. Heck, most of you know me, a liberal old dame who says what she thinks and is fond of calling politicians morons.

You may read this and think, well this old goat is trying to stop caring, and nothing could be further from the truth. I care passionately about all of these things.

But at this point in my life, I desire peace. And as the saying goes, peace begins with me.

So as of right now, this moment, I am chilling out on social media. I’m going to post happy stuff and will not comment on the issues of the day. I’m going to test this our for 30 days, just to see if I can follow through.

Wish me luck, because I’m going to need it.

Purple flowers.

purple2

photo from 280.photobucket. com

Happy 4th of July USA!

If you celebrate the 4th, I hope you have a safe holiday!

It’s going to be a quiet one here; we will cook hot dogs and go to the fireworks celebration in downtown Bellevue.

In other news, we are breaking heat records in this part of the world! It hit 92 degrees F here today, and will be close to that tomorrow. We’ve had lots of fires in the area, and the state, because it’s so hot and dry. None close to us, thank goodness!

So this old hag is going to stay by the fans and keep drinking lots of water!

Happy 4th, USA!

huff4

photo from huffingtonpost.com

My retirement anniversary!

One year ago today I retired after a total of twelve years at a Seattle nonprofit.

I had no idea what I was headed for!

In some ways, this has been the hardest year of my life. The realization that I needed to stop working for awhile was a tough one for me. I figured I would take a few months off and find a groovy little part time job.

Well, I tried!

Truth is, I was worn out and have needed a break!

So, it has been the worst of times and the best of times–who said that? Oh yeah, a chap named Charles Dickens.

Throughout my life, I’ve seen the most personal growth during the difficult periods. Going through those tough times helped me to re-evaluate my life, take some tentative steps towards change, and implement those changes.

The past year has given me a chance to stop and enjoy life for a change–spending time with friends and family, taking care of my health, getting lots of sleep, reading, and paying games like Words with Friends and Words on Tour.

After I let go of judging myself for not working, I started having some fun! After working at a frantic pace for years, I listened to what my body was telling me and let up on myself.

So, on the whole it has been the best of times, with more good times to follow.

Onward, with confidence and joy!

And Happy Retirement Anniversary to me!

hammock

Shooting for the moon? Not me!

As many of you know, I’ve been struggling since my retirement last summer.

Depression, anxiety, and just feeling exhausted and out of sorts.

I did not get enough exercise, I ate WAY too many sweets, and I despaired.

I finally got to the point where I wanted to feel better, it was time to kick myself in the arse, get out of bed, and DO something about how I was feeling.

For the first few months, it felt like I was shooting for the moon.

Will I never feel better?

I started taking a low dose anti-depressant, which has worked for me before, and I started asking myself just what the hell what I wanted at this stage of my life. The answers did not come right away, but they did show up, a little at a time. I acted on my desires, and started making changes.

I spent less time in bed, my sleep quality was better, my mood was much better, and it just felt really good to move, be outside, and be active again. I started reconnecting with friends and acquaintances, and really enjoying spending time with my family.

One day I was able to say, without reservation, that I was “back.”

It didn’t feel like I was reaching for the unattainable; I had arrived at the spot I wanted to be at.

Talk about ultimate coolness and true joy.

Thanks to everyone who helped me along the way–family, friends, my doctor, and the dogs who made me get out of the house so they could pee and poop a few times a day.

two roads

The Robert Frost quote above is my way of reminding myself to take risks, to not stand back and refuse to participate in life for fear of getting hurt. Years ago, I had a friend tell me “if you’re going to play the game of life, you need to deal with the consequences.”

I’m back, baby!

Book Review: Clay’s Hope, by Melissa Haag

clay's

Image link

Clay’s Hope is a wonderful addition to the Hope(less) Judgment of the Six series by Melissa Haag.

Clay is a werewolf who has little hope of finding his mate. Then he meets a young girl named Gabby, a girl with special powers, and he falls hard.

Clay has found his mate.

But Clay has one little problem: He needs to win the heart of this young lady, and Miss Gabby is no pushover.

Hope(less) (the Hopeless e-book is free today, follow the link) tells Gabby’s story, and now we get to read Clay’s point of view.

Clay’s Hope is told mostly through Clay’s inner dialogue, whether he is in human or werewolf form. His feelings for Gabby run deep, and at times his pain is almost too much to bear. Makes you just want to pick him up and comfort him, and then bitch slap Gabby! Ha! Having read the whole series, and knowing Gabby’s story helped me a lot, but I still wished she was real so I could shake her, kick her in the behind, and tell her to go give Clay some lovin.’

Clay remains by Gabby’s side, day after day, anticipating and fulfilling her needs with a love that does not waver for a moment.

Melissa Haag has crafted another intense addition to The Judgment of the Six series. The characters are well developed and flawed in a way that I find impossible not to love. Clay’s Hope is basically a retelling of Gabby’s story, from Clay’s perspective of course, and I found it fresh and interesting. The dialogue is well written and moves the story along nicely.

I enjoyed Clay’s Hope immensely, and I think you will also. Follow the link above to get a free copy of the first installment of this series, and prepare to get hooked.

“Sorry, I don’t want to do that. I’m retired.”

It’s been about nine months since I retired, and what a journey it has been so far.

In the past nine months, I’ve looked at people around me who are still working, and felt kind of guilty.

These poor little puppers have to get up and go to work every day, and I do not have to.

But lately, those feelings of guilt have started to disappear, because I remembered something.

I’m older than most of the folks who are close to me (a LOT older, in some cases). I was getting up and going to work when a lot of my inner circle were getting signed up for kindergarten.

So I’ve been telling myself to loosen up and relax, and let go of that silly guilt. Finally, I’m asking myself what I want to do, how I want to live in retirement.

And the next time someone asks me to do something I would rather not do, I’m going to answer, “Sorry, I don’t want to do that. I’m retired.”

The clinical social worker in me says this is just another way of setting limits with people.

The retired person responds with a shrug of the shoulders, a smile, and a relaxed breath.

YEAH.

Who’s got the power, baby?

I DO.

hammock

Retirement: How I learned how to settle down and just relax, finally

I’ve been enjoying myself these days, not looking for work, helping out my family, and just taking out time to BE.

Thanks to modern medicine, my depressive episode has been beat back where it belongs (in the corner of my being that I don’t have time for right now. I’m sleeping pretty well, my anxiety is being kept at bay, and I’m ~45% less cranky than I was BZ (before Zoloft).

I’ve also seen some of my self-confidence return since taking my pills. I was fearful all the time, afraid to do things I used to take for granted–stuff I needed to take care of (like driving a family member’s car, dealing with issues like student loans, Medicare, paying bills, etc.). It’s kind of exciting for me, a renewal of sorts, to be taking care of my business again.  Once I got past the knowledge that I should could not be working right now, things started to fall into place.

I’m spending a lot of time in Bellevue, with my son and grandchildren, and that’s helped me also. Their support helps a lot. I’m also driving my family to and from school, play practice, and commuter buses. Add helping with household chores, and watching all kinds of t.v. shows with them! This helps me to feel that I am contributing something, and being a part of their daily lives. I’m no longer in charge of tilting at windmills (i.e., being a supervisor at a non-profit), but I’m giving of myself to people I love. That’s a huge boost for me, an accomplishment that I’m proud of. I’ve missed a lot over the years, because I was working, or home in a coma-like state after a tough week at work!

So–I’m relaxed, my mood is on a more even keel, and I am happy.

Nothing to sneeze at, right?

More to follow on my retirement days…

Winter Storm Juno: Northeast Snowstorm Ramping Up; Blizzard Conditions Forecast in 7 States – weather.com

Winter Storm Juno: Northeast Snowstorm Ramping Up; Blizzard Conditions Forecast in 7 States – weather.com.

For anyone in the path of this historic storm, I hope you stay safe, warm, and well.

And I hope the storm is not as bad as it is being predicted.

As I sit at my computer in Seattle, the sun is shining and the high temperature is supposed to reach 61 degrees F today.

And I’m thinking of another east coast storm, circa 1977 or so. I was living in rural New York State (Wolcott, NY), less than one mile from Lake Ontario, and a monster storm was predicted. In our neighborhood, lake effect snow was a given during the winter months. There was no internet, of course, but television, radio, and newspaper stories cautioned that a monster storm would paralyze us for days.

Mom and Dad called and told me to get ready for a store run, to get supplies for this storm. My son and I bundled up, and Dad drove us to Sodus, NY, to stock up. The grocery store in Sodus was out of bread and milk, so we got back in the car and traveled to Newark. Thankfully, the Wegman’s store in Newark still had lots of food, so we stocked up.

Dad drove us home so we could stock our refrigerators and cupboards.

I made some lunch for my son and I, and we started putting together puzzles and watching out for the storm.

And the storm never came.

We talked about the storm that never came for years!

I’m pretty sure that weather forecasting has gotten more efficient since the 1970s, but if you are in the path of this storm, I hope this is your storm that never comes!

Coming back, and what the hell does self-care mean?

It is happening slowly, but I am starting to feel like my old self.

My ex supervisor, a certified genius, gave me some good advice: Healing yourself is the most important thing right now and it is very hard to put yourself first and be okay with it.   Give yourself the gift of allowing deep healing to occur. Relax. breathe. All of the years in the high stress situation at _______ cannot be undone in a few months.

Yeah.

What she said.

It seems like my healing is taking a long time, but I am noticing some changes: I no longer have to push myself to get out of bed and take a shower or bath every day (which I am sure my family and housemates are excited about); my mood is more even-keeled, with fewer outbursts of anger/tears/hopelessness; my sleep quality is much improved.

And I am relaxing, enjoying being with my family, contacting friends, getting out a few times a day to walk the dog, taking joy from doing household chores and just being active.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what self-care means for me and my current situation. I am very proud that I listened to what my body was telling me to do when I retired from my job. I knew that I was burned out and needed to move on, but I have not been sure about what comes next! In another email exchange, my ex sup reminded me that my anxiety attacks are coming from within. Telling me to STOP and listen to myself! As I have started listening to myself, I have considered the changes I want to make, beginning with not pushing myself so hard and easing up on myself.

I told you, the woman is a freaking genius.

So for me, self-care means listening to myself (which is a total scream, I am so good at listening to other people and now I have to learn to listen to myself), and allowing myself the time to recover, refresh, and renew.

It’s also a time to grieve–the loss of my youth, the loss of a family member a few months ago, losing someone I love a few years ago. I have always been one to push things aside until I am ready to deal with them. I know, it is classic denial, but you can always count on unresolved grief to kick you in the ass and remind you it is still there, waiting for you to deal with it so you can move on and be done with it!  live with it. I do not believe that loss is something one recovers from; rather, it becomes something one can live with. I am proud (mostly) of the way I have handled the last few years (and last few months) of profound change. Hey, we all make mistakes and missteps; it is human nature. I have said it before, I am taking the path less traveled for myself. It is new, exciting, and at times scary as hell!

What is most important to me right now is that I am coming back, baby. It feels good, and right, and I am convinced that I am where I need to be right now.

I have promised myself to blog more, work on my writing projects every day, and be gentle with myself when I do not keep those promises!

One of my favorite movies has always been The Wizard of Oz–my favorite part is when Dorothy gets caught in the twister, her bed and house spinning out of control. At times in the last two years I have felt that I was spinning out of control, caught up in the twister, not in control of my life or my emotions.

I have finally realized that I just need to wait for the spinning to stop. It is slowing down, as I have gained a greater understanding of what is happening, and as I contemplate my next steps.

Self-care, a.k.a listening to myself, has shown me that I have been on, and continue to be on, one hell of a journey.

It is time for me to relax and enjoy it.

dorothy

Picture from karenlogan.com

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