And So It Goes…

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Isn’t he cute? He is super supportive and the reason I can take days off to recover in my pajamas. 

I am admonishing myself today because I am in my special soft pajamas and my softest sweater because I over did it yesterday. I did my yoga, my writing, and then I cleaned the kitchen and deep cleaned the refrigerator. I took out three trash bags from all the cleaning I did yesterday. I also washed the bathroom floor by hand because my hair just doesn’t come up with a mop. I was extremely excited when husband got home, but by the time we went to bed I could not move my head without groaning.

I am extremely lucky because my amazingly patient husband gave me a massage to loosen me up enough to go to sleep, but then this morning I woke up in full -just got hit by a mac truck- fibro mode. If you don’t have fibromyalgia I will remind you that it feels like when you have the flu, but you don’t vomit. You are sore all over, nauseous, and swollen in places. So basically it is like you have the flu but also got beat up last night. It’s a wonderful way to start the day, let me tell you.

So today I am sitting here watching Monday’s Dancing with the Stars and the fog in my head is coming and going. Right now, in a moment of mental clarity, I am wondering how long it will be before I learn my lesson. I want to manage my energy better. I feel like I make progress and then get excited and do too much. I get a little encouragement, and say I GOT THIS!!! I got this all the way to the couch. Dang it to hell. It is so frustrating. Now I have lost a whole day. I have lost an entire day to sitting around without any progress. I know I shouldn’t let it, but it pisses me off and makes me feel guilty. I know it shouldn’t but I keep going over where I went wrong and how I could have broken up tasks. Maybe I could have eaten better. Would that have made a difference? Should I have split up cleaning the fridge? Two shelves one day, the rest another? These are the questions I feel like all fibro people ask, am I wrong?

Managing your activities can be tedious. These are base activities that most humans have to do: cook, clean, walk, fold laundry. I have to dose them out like medicine. Too much medicine and I crash. Today is crash day.

Will I ever get it down? Will I ever learn? I doubt it. My mom has had fibromyalgia for years. At least once a month she is telling me about something she over did. This week she mowed the lawn and the next day her back hurt and she was out of commission. She hasn’t learned.

Also, hopefully my baseline for what I can do will improve if I keep working at it. I have to keep chipping at that line that I am not supposed to cross. I have to keep trying to move it forward. So, I guess that I will be having more days like this. By that logic, perhaps these days aren’t that bad.

I keep trying over and over to be more capable. I keep trying to push the limits of my abilities. That is a good thing. So maybe it was stupid to do too much too fast, to be excited when I feel good, and to fall for it again. This excitement (like look what I can do!) is contagious and insatiable sometimes. I want to feel normal, that is natural. I want to reach out to all those people with fibromyalgia and tell them not to feel bad when you make a mistake like this.

Fibromyalgia should be called baby steps. (Please excuse the What about Bob reference Bill Murray.) Baby steps to a clean kitchen, baby steps to a clean bathroom, baby steps to a vacuumed floor and baby steps to a rewarding life. I should make it a mantra. I should add it to my morning meditations so that I don’t forget.

It can be hard to always live a mindful life down to the most minute activity, but that is the new regime with fibromyalgia. I will always struggle with being guilty because I’ve done too much. As a fat person, I’ve always felt guilty for not doing enough, for not loving exercise. Now in my forties I am finally loving exercise and I have to put a cap on it. I struggle not to feel guilty at all anymore because it helps no one. If you have fibro or some other chronic illness, or even if you don’t – how do you stop the guilt train? It has to stop. It helps no one. How do you stop the guilt train? We have to put an end to it for our collective health. We have to band together and be encouraging to ourselves. Not just because guilt, shame, and stress can cause not just mental anguish but physical pain in fibromyalgia. I don’t think those things are good for any human.

In addendum: My husband read this before posting. He said that it would probably help for caregivers and spouses to read this. He said it helped understand better. I know if you have fibro you understand this push and pull with your abilities, but maybe your partners don’t. My husband is truly the greatest husband in all of the world. He dotes on my like I am his “precious.” So, if he is still figuring it out then I am guessing education is needed for more partners in this world. I hope this that this essay helps, but I would also recommend: https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

 

That’s More than Four Miles!

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At the Christmas Village

Yesterday I walked a record breaking 8, 533 steps. I am proud of myself and extremely sore. Last night I cried. This is life in the big city for me. I love it here in Philadelphia, but you wouldn’t think so the way I have gotten grouchy, cranky and weepy. Two things are going on. I am exploring a beautiful city with amazing architecture, history out its ass, and sweet friendly people. The other thing that is happening is I am trying to fit two middle aged lives into a one bedroom apartment.

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Seeing into the future: I will conquer this

The latter is the most difficult. Brad and I had a three bedroom apartment. Each of us had their own office complete with our own closet. That autonomy made our marriage rather pleasant. There were times when we got stressed with each other, cranky at life, or just needing space and we could just retire to our separate spaces. This has ended. The idyllic existence is over. We must truly cohabitate as every inch of space in our apartment is being assessed and planned. Mountains of stuff are being crammed into spaces we used to have plenty of space for. I am moving boxes to one side of the apartment and back because there isn’t an extra room where we can leave them for when we need them. There is just one room, and then another with the bed in it. Brad has an awesome new job and all the pressures that go with that so he isn’t able to help at all really. I have been here a week and a half and frankly it is already driving me crazy. I keep saying, when the apartment is finished, when we are all unpacked, and organized I will feel better, but will I? Will I?

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My Gorgeous Man in his Work duds

 

Hubby and I were single for a long time before we found each other. We both had plenty of time to ruminate in our own company and to know what we liked and didn’t. We like our own space. I think it is getting to him too, me always being around, probably worse. He is an introvert. They desperately need their own space, but here I am. I am there in the morning when he wakes up and every minute of every day he is here. It is probably brutal for him. I think that is why we are both grouchy. It is part of the reason.

The other part is the physical activity. We are both worn out. Our life pre move was sedimentary other than for the occasional yoga. Now Brad walks to work and back. We walk to everything now like stores and restaurants. This is such a good thing because we need the exercise, but it is kind of like trial by fire. Between unpacking, moving furniture, trying to find the grocery store and just being a general tourist, my feet are wondering what the heck I am doing. Every day is a new physical challenge that I don’t really think about when I am walking, but boy does my body feel it later.

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The Beautiful Capital

 

I have been doing this for about two weeks, and before that we were on a cross country trip. Yesterday Brad and I walked all over. It was one of my favorite days in a long time. I got to go to the park, walked through the fancy Rittenhouse area, see my husband’s work, visit Christmas Village (an outside holiday market), ride on a horse drawn carriage, and walk through the city hall. I almost made it to the elusive 10,000 step goal, the closest to that goal I have ever gotten. Throughout the entire day, I had a huge grin on my face. I took a picture with a Santa on a motorcycle for crying out loud. When we got home, we relaxed with a couple of burgers. We were both exhausted. It was a big day, but winding down our bodies hurt and we began sniping at each other. A couple snips later I was in bed and crying and saying how tired I was. Brad felt so bad he rubbed my feet so I could sleep. It’s a rollercoaster with me. We started joking that maybe I should start taking naps. When Danielle gets tired apparently she gets grouchy.

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Well, ya know…Santa

I have figured out my plan for fitness. One day I will walk all over trying to find a particular thing, like a grocery store or drug store: there is my cardio. The next day I will move boxes and clean the house and that will be my weight training. It is working out. I just hope my body gets used to it soon, for my marriage’s sake. Mandy my friend from New York advised me, “The greatest way to stay active is by necessity.” Those words are so true, and I hope they lead me to a healthier lifestyle.

Chubby Yogi?

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Very comfortable. This my morning practice I do when I am getting ready to go to work, that is why I am in my jeans.

 

My mother was joking about when I was little saying, “You were such a little Hellion. You were a difficult child, running and talking 23 hours a day, but it always amazed me when Mr. Rogers was on, you were quiet, enwrapped in the program. I mean not a word was spoken when that man came on the TV.” Mr. Rodgers with his calm, quiet, dulcet voice, pastel sweaters and serene demeanor, was so unusual to me. I grew up in a full, loud and boisterous house. My life was and still is full of noise. I am a loud person, from my booming voice to my full, deep, whole hearted laugh. When words come to my mind I speak them right away. My siblings are pretty similar.

I guess this is why I am totally enamored and fascinated with calm, quiet people. I have always whether consciously or unconsciously sought them out. I can’t handle not knowing what is in their brains and why they don’t feel the need to speak all those locked up thoughts. It’s like knock, knock, knock….what is in there? My Dad used to say, “It’s one thing to be stupid, it is another to open your mouth and let people know you’re stupid.” I guess maybe that is another reason I am lured to quiet people, I believe them to be wise.

I am pretty proud of my downward dog, even though it could be better.
I am pretty proud of my downward dog, even though it could be better.

The biggest reason I think is that yen yang thing. The whole attraction to what you haven’t mastered. My mind is in constant motion, thinking of several things at once. Most of it seems to come out of my fingers on the keyboard (a thing that has saved many relationships,) or out of my mouth. I fidget, squirm, and rarely sit still. My husband used to say to me, “Can’t you just sit and do nothing??!!!” While the invention of the tablet allows me to do that because I can read and watch TV at the same time, and I have also learned that quiet people don’t always have pearls of wisdom hiding in there…I still long for stillness and quiet that eludes me.

If I told you that you would probably refer me to a counselor, yoga, or meditation, right? It says something about me that I have seen counselors, but never in a million years thought about yoga or meditation. Ol’ Doc Baxter says with my fibromyalgia I have to stretch. Google says, “Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety.” My mom and grandma both had it. Growing up I knew; Fibromyalgia equaled pain you can never get rid of. Knowing the pain Mom went through I have already researched this disease before Dr. Baxter told me I had it. I kept “helpfully” sharing what I learned saying Mom try this, and try that. Yeah, I am that kind of friend, the fixer. Mom isn’t much for trying stuff, so now; I am going back on all that literature, and the number one suggestion: yoga and meditation. Oh, okay, so I guess I will try it.

Love a good hip stretch
Love a good hip stretch

I LOVE IT!!!! I normally hate to sweat, but for some reason I don’t really notice when I am doing yoga. My husband and I have been doing about twenty minutes in the morning and the evening. Last night I sweated a lot. With a concentration on breathing, position of your body, and balance: it is such a challenge for me that it quiets my mind. Even small stretches and poses are meant to be done in reverence and thoughtful breathing. I have found it to be so relaxing and calm, and the biggest benefit is I have noticed after just a few weeks practice I have much less pain than before.

Maybe this will lead me to be the quiet, introspective, wise person I have always wanted to be? That may be too much to ask, but at least I am on the road to far less pain.

 

 

 

Come to my Pity Party

wedding week 158There are so many people in pain in my life, it feels selfish and morally weak to talk about my pain. I have a Facebook friend who is in constant pain, and my mom has fibromyalgia, in pain almost every day. These are only two examples of the many people who have it worse than I do. I think quantifying how much pain a person is in, it sort of an odd conversation, but I know I am not the only one who thinks this way. It is the same with emotional pain. For instance, I would never think of going to talk to my best friend about a small argument I had with my husband when she was crying over a break up. That’s just mean. I wouldn’t blame her if she looked at me like, “REALLY? THIS SHIT?”
Being a bystander to chronic pain, I know how helpless it feels when a loved one is going through it. My mother has so much pain it’s unbelievable, and Mom’s a tough woman so I know she isn’t just complaining. To be honest she just doesn’t complain enough probably. After so long complaining seems fruitless I am sure. I used to try to help. Those with chronic pain will giggle at that. It is like trying to tell a fat person how to lose weight. No one has researched how to lose weight more than a fat person. I can account for that. It is the same for chronic pain. My buddy on Facebook goes to a new doctor it seems once a week. So while I am saying why don’t you try yoga, how bout acupuncture etc. my mom is just rolling her eyes. Finally she says to me, “I have tried these things. When I tell you about my pain, I just want you to listen, maybe say you are sorry I am going through this.”
Oh, hmmm. I don’t know how to be outwardly empathetic very well. I am…trying. I think I sort of sound like a recorded message sometimes but again I try. I much prefer to try to solve problems, but if there is no solving something the only thing I can do is submit. I think God is trying to teach me to submit to things that are out of my control. I am not a fast learner this way.
When it comes to my pain, I am lucky in that it is only about a week every couple of months as my medicine wears off and I wait until my insurance deems me worthy of another dose. I lay around taking my Aleve, in the fetal position with a heating pad on my shoulders, or legs or whatever part of my body hurts the most and getting nothing done except a lot of diarrhea. I think that is what pisses me off the most. I feel worthless. A week before my MONSTER PMS I was so productive. I wrote, edited, scrapbooked, exercised, and spent time with loved ones. One day I am feeling amazing, next day, don’t want to walk to the fucking bathroom. I have to slowly hobble to the bathroom.
There is nothing they can do. I have been to four doctors. My PCOS polycystic ovarian syndrome, isn’t going away unless I lose all this weight, and you know, the irony isn’t lost on me. I have a disease that requires me to lose weight, but makes it so that for weeks at a time I can barely walk. Just like Diabetes, you have trouble monitoring how much food is healthy for your body, so let me give you a disease where you have to monitor it more and more strictly. These may be the only questions I ask God when I meet him. Why is that logic so messed up?
My mom doesn’t complain enough. I want to complain for her. I want to go to doctors offices with her and be her advocate. I want someone to do something! I want someone to do something for my friend and for me. My mom still takes care of her family and sometimes even builds houses with my Uncle. If she can get through every day in pain, then I can get through a week every two months. I know I will live, and I will thrive. Sometimes I just need to bitch. Why do I feel so guilty about that?

Control, a weight loss buzz word

Proud of myself

 

I read recently in a magazine that impulse control is something that you can work, like a muscle and get stronger at controlling your impulses.

I have always considered this to be something inherently wrong with me. I mean my family tree is riddled with overweight people. I have chubby ancestors all over the place. But maybe they just didn’t exercise their impulse control. I’ve always said that I am really good at the big things, like I am one of the first people in my family to graduate from college. I have a good job, and am in a good relationship. I have accomplished some stuff here, not too shabby, but the little things every day decisions are what are gonna kill me, get me evicted, or get my feet cut off because of diabetic infection. I don’t make good spur of the moment decisions. NOT at all. So previously, what I read concerning weight loss has been to remove the temptation. Don’t have the shit in your house. Have lots of healthy food and snacks. Now that works really well for us, for about two weeks, until we are too lazy to go to the grocery store and make that one night mistake of hitting McDonalds and scarfin’ down a double quarter pound with biggie fries and Dr. Pepper. Yeah I will admit…a Mcflurry too. I eat like a trucker sometimes, I know. My Mom will be so ashamed, but some people call this binging. This to me, was a Thursday.

But, if impulse control is something you can learn, and get better at. I am so in. There is hope. I mean I have always said that I could lose weight if I wanted it bad enough, but I believe that about everything. I also felt like this was a daunting and unreasonable task. Almost like the guy who painted himself in the corner. How am I going to all of a sudden turn this around? Also daunting is the idea of always having to think about my weight, the everyday of it. I mean can you believe that I have to think about what I am going to eat all the time. If I don’t get enough, low blood sugar. If I get too much, I get fatter. It is a constant struggle. I am going to continue this for 30 or more years? Are you kidding me, everyday writing stuff down, watching my skinny friends eat fudge while I trudge by with my Weight Watchers snacks and carrots that are “so good they taste like candy”. Oh, not so much. So these were my internal thoughts for the longest time. Then I read about impulse control. It seems so simple that I don’t know why I am 32 years old and only hearing about it now. Not only is it empowering, there is hope it could get easier. I can learn it, and flex it, and work it like a muscle and then it gets easier. The article said not just for losing weight but other things like spending or just making good decisions. Impulse control. I can control my impulse for chocolate or those super soft sweet gumdrops from the bin at Winco? Not only can I do it myself, I can make it easier on myself the more I do it. So the more I turn down chocolate the easier it will be next time? Okay, so I am not entirely buying it but I am willing to explore it.

Today I went to work and found out they were going to buy me lunch for my good attendance. I was excited and then I remembered that I am trying to eat healthy. Well that kind of sucked the air out of my excitement. We are going to this fancy restaurant with menu items like French meatloaf, and turkey pot pie with a fattening delicious crust, and blue cheese bacon burgers with really fresh French fries. I have a weakness for potatoes. If I get full diabetes, it will be because I eat way too many potatoes especially in the French fry form. I didn’t want to go and have all this food to choose from. I didn’t trust myself. So I am debating what to do, and I mention it to the woman next to me in the cubie at work and she says just go and have water, its worth getting out of work for an extra hour. Boy don’t I know it. So I did that. I just went expecting to have water and just relax and hang out with my coworkers.

Weird thing though. I got there and started looking over the menu. There was one dish that caught my eye. It was the veggie pita. It had roasted vegetables, with red pepper aioli which means mayo but only a tablespoon, a pita and feta. I was shocked that there was something so simple that I knew it was healthy, and I thought, I don’t know if this is good but I could try it. I love feta, of course because it’s kind of fattening, and I liked all the vegetables. It was delicious. It was so yummy that I didn’t even wish I had someone else’s plate. I am so glad that I went and I felt so proud of myself afterwards. I had to write it down, because this impulse control thing I am starting to believe. If I hadn’t been so good all week, I might have gone for the bacon burger with warm fries. I really wanted beefy goodness and that was my first reflex. However, I didn’t want to cheat myself. I just wanted to eat something healthy. So I made a good choice, and I felt good and secure about it. So the impulse control experiment so far is successful.

EXERCISE DUMMY

I have been avoiding this subject because my husband and I haven’t been doing very good at getting into exercise. We are loath to exercise or sweat in anyway. My husband doesn’t even like to be outside the house very much. We joke he is a vampire. So we have a lot of history and emotion to overcome before we will tolerate, much less enjoy exercise for exercise sake.I can only speak for me when I say that years of hating exercise is hard to overcome.

I can remember crying during aerobics in the fifth grade because my ankles hurt. I was slumped over, in my corduroy pants swooshing with every beat of Micheal Jackson’s thriller, and my tears were dappling on my over sized yellow sweater. I had the personal feeling that the Presidents physical fitness awards were meant to be a torture technique in order to get children exhausted, embarrassed and submissive. I only passed one, the stretching. I desperately wanted to pass sprinting or rug climbing, but nope it wouldn’t work. I was left red faced and stinking the rest of the day looking at all the other children that seemed to accomplish these things with such ease. Oh, and did I mention that I stink when I sweat. Oh yeah, like big smelly onions. My cousin used to call me Onion when he was mad at me. Brad says when I exercise I smell like Chicken Chow Mien. It wasn’t until almost the end of high school that I finally worked through every deodorant out there and finally found Mitchum, and I don’t care what they say, even with that shellac on my armpits I can’t skip a day. Not to mention that in the humid air of Oklahoma my feet would get so sweaty that I constantly had athletes foot. My feet stunk, and it was worse than the onion smell, that’s all I’ll say.

When I was in junior high my mother used to make me run around the neighborhood and then if I didn’t do it fast enough I had to do sit ups in the front lawn in front of the entire neighborhood, including the boy I had a crush on down the street. Running in gym wasn’t much better with the green polyester shorts that rode up between my thighs and the white shirt with my name on it that would show the outline of my bra and stomach when I sweated. So I would be running and constantly pulling down my shorts so people couldn’t see my fat thighs or the color of my underpants, and then I would also shove down my shirt so it wouldn’t stick to me outlining my belly pudge. The shorts would chafe my thighs and give me a rash. I always performed last in all races, and any games. I was the one chosen last in everything. As a 14 year old girl, these experiences equated shame and hatred of exercise. These same themes continued into high school, including all the normal nervous problems most teens have: showering with other people, looking like a wet rat during and after, having my period, and what I consider the worst… sweating in front of other people.

It wasn’t all bad I suppose. I remember biking with my family and while I didn’t love it at first, I never hated it. We used to bike all together all over the city. I liked biking because it never hurt my ankles and the wind was so good at cooling the sweat. Also, there was a street in Enid that had two huge hills, and I could beat everyone up the first hill, which I think gave me a sense of accomplishment, but Mom always beat me up the second one. The other thing I loved was Easter. Easter we always went out to my Aunt Gail’s house and it was the first time I liked organized sports. Either softball or volleyball was the game of choice for the family, and my Aunts and Uncles were always very kind to me. I was never chosen last, and they never pointed out how inept I was or uncoordinated. They never allowed the other kids to either. My Uncles would say Good Job Danielle, way to hustle. My Aunts would clap if I did something good, and if I messed up they would say no problem, shake it off. When I would act hesitant about my abilities they would say, You can do it step up there. It was such an encouraging experience that I really wish I lived closer so I could go home for Easter. I have such fond memories of that. It was the one time of the year I felt capable of exercise. Thank you family.

I did take swimming lessons every year, while I wasn’t the best at it, I wasn’t the worst. I loved swimming. Swimming always costs money, that is it’s only downfall. I could only do it about two weeks out of the year because that was what we could afford. I love the water. To this day that is my exercise of choice. You don’t sweat, and no one can really see you in the water. I love swimming because I can just stay in the pool all day. I can buy cute swim suits, and I love gliding in silence feeling the water rush over my body. It is a sensual sort of exercise. So unfortunately I don’t have the money for a gym membership to go swimming, my husband and I have started walking, as I have told you. We have started going to a different park every time in order to not get bored. It has been working out although not as well as I want it to. We have only been making it twice a week at most. We are struggling to make it more. Also we aren’t walking very long, only about 10 to 15 minutes. I walk until my hips start to hurt which is usually about 10-15 minutes. Although that isn’t always true.This week we went to Vancouver BC for a convention. The convention was about 30 minutes drive from our hotel and my husband was frustrated driving that long so we decided to take the Sky train. It was a mile and a half walk to and from the Sky train, and Vancouver is not flat. That morning we set out to get to the train with vigor. We got to the train pain free but sweating, maybe it was because I was excited to see Mike Dopud, the Stargate Universe gorgeous man that was the first on the speaking schedule, which I missed by the way. We were late because of the walking and not knowing how to use the sky train. When we got to the sky train I was sweaty but my hips weren’t hurting. My calves were sore, but not too bad. So we know we can do at least a mile now.Image

Now the way back, that was another story. I was tired and it was after midnight in a strange city. The only thing I think got us through was the fact that we were so happy after the dessert party we went too; hobnobbing with Stargate celebrities like Lou Diamond Phillips, Kavan Smith, and Christopher Judge. We were giggling, recapping the night, and we even stopped a couple times to take pictures with some of the art on the street. About halfway through I started getting extreme pain in my calves, feet, and hips. I was having such a hard time walking. I was sweating and huffing and puffing. We turned a corner and there was a guy walking towards us. Now in Vancouver, lots of guys were those hoodies, with the hoodies up. Here in America they are only used in the rain, or when you are trying to rob someone. Well this guy dressed in all black, including a black hoodie pulled up over his face walked towards us, until he passed us and then turned around and started following us. So at this point it is like almost one in the morning and I am freaking out. I keep turning around to look at him. Brad’s like, “Stop staring.”

I whisper back, “You have to let them know you are aware and you are tough.”

I look back and scowl my best scowl, and pump my fists to my side. I look at Brad and nod my head as if we have just decided something. Now I must let you know that I am five three wearing a pink gauzy shirt. I am not really intimidating anyone, but I am walking as fast as my fat feet will carry me. We finally hit the end of the block, turn the corner and he never comes. I took this time to take a small break, but Brad says we only have one block left. We end up taking a short cut through a muddy field. This is worse on my calves. By the time we hit the hotel room, I think I am having a heart attack. I collapse on the bed huffing and puffing and I said, “I am having a heart attack.”

Brad says, “You’re alright.”

Then he goes to the bathroom and gets me a cold wash cloth for my head, and opens the balcony doors. It took twenty minutes for my heart to stop hopping out of my chest.

So my experience with exercise isn’t ever consistent but the mostly I feel shame, inexperience, and inept. I don’t think that will ever go away. I think it may change and get better the more we do it, but I don’t know if I will ever completely not be the red faced, sweaty dunce who trips in gym class.

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***** After reading this blog, my friend and the best hairdresser in the Boise Area, Shannon Hugi from Studio 19, sent me this link. I teared up. It is very inspiring. Please watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX9FSZJu448&sns=fb

finding a joy in the middle of the day

Still trying to accept the things I cannot change. I tried to remember a time in my life when I didn’t have control, childhood. I thought, how did I cope with that? Little Danielle, threw lots of tantrums sure, but I also had a pretty happy childhood although I didn’t get my way. I will say a lot of my childhood was spent outside.
As a young child, one of my favorite things to do when I was at my Grandma’s house was to climb the big tree in her back yard. I would even pack a Pb&j, Cheetos, and Little Debbie’s snack cakes. If I had a thermos of Kool-Aid it would take forever to get me out of that tree. I could sit up there for hours just hearing the wind rustle the leaves, using the binoculars to stare at neighborhood dogs and inside windows, and smelling all the different smells coming from the wind.
As I grew older, outside was always where I wanted to be. Mom wouldn’t ask me to do dishes or fold laundry if I was outside with a book, or walking around the neighborhood. In high school would sit reading or writing very bad poetry out in my back yard on a blanket, next to the honeysuckle bush. Every once in a while, as it must do on the Oklahoma plains, the wind would pick up and the smell of that honeysuckle bush would intoxicate me. I would drop my book and just feel it caress my cheeks and feel my hair tickling the sides of my face and the back of my neck.
I don’t know what it is about the wind that mystifies me so. After my Dad passed, I would pretend that the wind was him hugging me in his starched shirts. Maybe it is the Okie in me that loves the feeling of wind hitting the sides of my face. I have spent a lot of my life with chapped cheeks, red faced dry cracked cheeks, but I love the wind. I think it is because it makes me feel that I am connected to several places at once.
So Friday for lunch I walked around my building to the side yard and sat there and ate my tuna fish sandwich. It is a beautiful place, especially this time of year. The grass is green and all uniform, as it is around companies usually. There are large, old gorgeous trees of many colors. There are three big green ones, a white flowered one and a large purple one. You see a lot of those white and purple trees here in Boise but they are all small and seem like they have just been planted. These two trees in the side yard of my company’s lot, are huge. So I sat there watching the wind blow there beautiful flowers around as the sun reflected off the building through the branches. It was so pretty.


I just sat there and let the quiet get into my head. Working in customer service all day is usually loud and sort of hectic. I am sure everyone reading this would probably agree. If you aren’t on the phone talking to someone, then your neighbor probably is. Sometimes you get those people who can’t hear you and then it is even louder. So this was really a treat in the middle of the day.
I sat there enjoying the beauty and the quiet and my sandwich. The only thing that wasn’t perfect was the hotdog cart providing the majority of the smells. When I went back in, I felt refreshed and blessed, instead of curmudgeonly. I think that enjoying nature and feeling the grass and seeing the pretty is going to be essential in my journey to being joyous and healthy.